North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

CVH extends hours for mammograms

 

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During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Cascade Valley Hospital is offering expended hours for mammograms every Wednesday

Cascade Valley Hospital is providing extended scheduling hours for mammograms on Wednesdays this October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Appointments are available until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays during the month.

"We do that every October just to open it up to our local community," said Donna Marler, a radiological technologist/mammographer at Cascade Valley Hospital.

Marler said that every year they get a lot of people coming in because of the additional hours and advertisements which help remind people to come in and get their screening.

"The national average is that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer sometime during their lives," she said.

The incidence rate is even higher in Washington state, she said, but the state also has a higher cure rate.

The American Cancer Society suggests starting mammograms at 40-years-old and recently changed their guidelines to once every two years from age 40 to 45, every year from age 45 to 55 and every couple of years after age 55, said Marler.

She herself still supports checking every year though.

"I think a lot of the change is insurance driven, unfortunately. Every year I've seen people come in to get checked after they have skipped a year or two and suddenly they have a big tumor," said Marler, who has been at Cascade Valley Hospital for 15 years and performing mammograms for over 30.

Risk of cancer increases with age, she said, and detecting breast cancer early improves treatment options and chances for recovery.

"I'm also a strong believer in women self-exams," said Marler, who added that women should be the first phase of their own health care.

Marler also hopes people come in even if they don't have a family history of breast cancer.

"Up to 70 percent of those diagnosed will have no family history," she said.

Having a family history does increase your odds of breast cancer, but just because you don't have a history doesn't mean you're immune.

"People can underestimate how many people have had no family history, so we try and get the word out. It's unfortunate, but someone's got to start that family history," she said.

Up to 10 percent of breast cancer diagnoses will be men as well, so men should watch for lumps on the breast.

Although most are hormone-related problems that result in benign tumors, those should still be checked by a doctor, she said.

More information about Cascade Valley Hospital is available at cascadevalley.org.

 

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