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The best prevention is early detection

I know you have plenty on your to-do list. Trust me, I can relate. And, while many of us know the importance of preventive care and screenings, these appointments are often the ones that get pushed to the back-burner because of hectic schedules. And, perhaps because they are not always the most glamorous, fun way to spend our time.

Yet, if we were told these appointments could save our mothers, aunts, or close friends lives, chances are we would be the first to persuade these important women to make an appointment.

This is your friendly reminder that you matter to this world and scheduling your annual woman wellness visit and a mammogram, for eligible women, can potentially save your life.

At the age of 40, women should talk with their primary care providers on when to start receiving a mammogram. For every 100 women having a mammogram, 90 will be normal and about 10 will be called back for more studies. Approximately one woman in 100 screened will have cancer.

A screening mammogram also provides every woman with a Tyrer-Cuzick score. This score is based on your breast density, family history and other factors that help indicate your risk level of having breast cancer. Anyone who has a score of greater than 20% qualifies for additional screening opportunities through High-Risk Breast Clinic and will be contacted by our breast navigator, Trish Jacobson.

Trish plays an important role in the follow up of these high-risk individuals and helping them establish care with a High-Risk Breast physician. As part of the appointment there are additional screening opportunities offered. One of these opportunities is a breast MRI. A breast MRI uses contrast and takes multiple images from different angles, which provides radiologists additional images to detect early-stage breast cancer. Individuals who are part of the High-Risk Breast Clinic are closely monitored and have the benefit of having a designated contact person to help with scheduling, answering questions, addressing concerns, and removing barriers to their care.

What’s the best part of the High-Risk Breast clinic? It’s simple, the positive impact it is making in our community. This care model and clinic continues to save lives. Since November, there have been six individuals in High-Risk Breast clinic whose cancer was detected early-on.

This Mother’s Day, while it might seem odd, give the gift of a mammogram. Schedule your mammogram, or simply remind your mom or the special woman in your life to get her mammogram. Sometimes all is takes is a little nudge from those we love!

If you are due, or overdue, for your mammogram call UnityPoint Clinic — Norma Schmoker Women’s Center at (515) 574-6015 to schedule your appointment. If you have seen your primary care provider in the last 3 years a doctor’s order is not required to schedule your mammogram.

Leah Glasgo is president and CEO of UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge

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