WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — This October we're celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a series. Every Tuesday this month we'll be learning about the disease through IU Health Arnett doctors and patients.
For many women, their breast cancer is first discovered after a mammogram and doctors say those women are the lucky ones.
“Once you start feeling something, you're a little later in the game,” said Dr. Luke Gerges, radiologist, and director of the Breast Center at IU Health Arnett in West Lafayette.
Whether a cancer mass is found on accident or through a routine breast examination, Dr. Gerges said this kind of discovery can be avoided.
“Screening mammograms, it's designed to catch the earliest form of breast cancer well before you would ever feel it on your breast or it causing any symptoms,” said Gerges.
Dr. Gerges showed us zoomed-in images of an early discovered form of breast cancer in one of his patients and it's difficult to see. He said it’s nearly impossible to detect it on your own when it's that size.
“The point of screening mammography is to catch it early enough that it is curable. Deaths related to Breast Cancer can be avoided if they're caught early enough,” said Gerges.
To schedule a mammogram it starts with having a primary care physician.
“Once they have a primary care physician on file all they literally have to do is call the scheduling number for IU Arnett and say I'd like to schedule a mammogram,” said Gerges.
Dr. Gerges said you don't need a standing order from your doctor, or even a visit before scheduling a mammogram. And once the results are in they'll go to your primary care physician. He said for those diagnosed, you'll be taken care of from then on.
“We plan every next step for them we take ownership of the patient, we set up all their future appointments, set them up with all the doctors they need to be seeing and we basically hold their hand from point diagnosis to point cure,” said Gerges.
Dr. Gerges reports one in eight women will get breast cancer. He recommends women with an average risk for breast cancer get a mammogram every year starting at age 40. Average risk means no family history of breast cancer or genetic abnormalities.
To schedule a same-day mammogram, call 765-448-8100 or learn more by visiting the IU Health Arnett website.