October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Parkridge Health is encouraging women to be vigilant about receiving regular mammograms if they are age 40 or older or have high-risk conditions. According to the CDC, 255,000 women in the United States receive a breast cancer diagnosis every year. Breast cancer is much easier to treat if caught early, and a regular screening mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer in its earliest stages.
Signs and symptoms
Alongside consistent breast screenings to aid in early detection, if you’re experiencing any symptoms of breast cancer, it’s important to call your physician.
Some common signs of breast cancer include:
- A new lump or mass — may be painless or painful, hard or soft
- Swelling in all or part of the breast
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Breast or nipple pain
- Nipple retraction — meaning the nipple turns inward
- A change in the skin of the nipple or breast — whether by becoming red, scaly or thickening
- Nipple discharge — any discharge that isn't breast milk
- Swollen lymph nodes under the arm or collarbone
Screenings save lives
Parkridge Medical Center, Parkridge East and Parkridge West are part of the Parkridge Health family of hospitals which offers comprehensive breast cancer screenings at three locations in the Chattanooga area. These facilities are equipped with digital mammography which produces a clearer X-ray picture of the breast tissue and reduces the dose of radiation delivered during the scan.
What to expect from your mammogram
We understand that some women may be nervous about a mammogram appointment, but our compassionate caregivers are ready to help you through every step of the process. Our screening locations are focused on your comfort, privacy and convenience, so that you can feel supported and at ease through the entire appointment.