October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On Tuesday, Dr. Joe Baisden, a local radiation oncologist and Dr. David Mullins, a local general surgeon, stopped by the WVVA studio to discuss screenings, symptoms, risk factors and more.
“Screening is a way of finding breast cancer early before it becomes problematic,” said Dr. Baisden. “It is such a prevalent disease that when we use (screenings) it saves tens of thousands of lives a year.”
Dr. Baisden and Dr. Mullins say that screenings have saved more than 2.5 million lives over the past three decades. However, many women still aren’t getting mammograms.
“The problem is that 72% is where we’re at for mammograms in West Virginia, slightly below the national average. That comes out to 3 in 10 women who are not following up on the screenings,” said Dr. Mullins.
The CDC recommends that women 50-54 years old schedule mammograms yearly. Women over the age of 55, can get mammograms every two years or have the choice to continue with screenings once a year.
Dr. Baisden says that if a family member, such as a woman’s mother or grandmother, had breast cancer, then mammograms can be scheduled sooner than 50 years old.
To reach the WV Breast and Cervical Cancer screening program, call 304-558-5388. The toll free number in WV is 800-642-8522.