Breast Cancer Awareness month reminding women to put their health first

Breast Cancer Awareness month reminding women to put their health first
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 3:26 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) -A recent Prevent Cancer Foundation survey of 2,000 women found that 49% of them, ages 40 and older, had not received their annual mammogram since March 2020.

One Lexington breast radiology doctor says if you fall in that category, don’t put it off any longer.

In this month’s Link to Hope, she says Breast Cancer Awareness month serves as an annual reminder to put their health first for many women.

In October, we see a lot more pink, a visible reminder of the importance of breast cancer screenings and early detection.

“I will say one thing about October is those people come, and the breast cancer awareness works,” said Dr. Kimberly Stigers.

Dr. Kimberly Stigers is a Lexington breast radiology specialist with CHI Saint Joseph Health.

For 30 years, her motto for her patients has been knowledge is power.

“We see a lot of women who are in denial feeling something even, and they are just so scared to come,” said Dr. Stigers.

And that’s something she wants to change.

Early detection saves lives, but she is well aware of the number of women who have missed their yearly mammogram in the last two years, but she says it’s not too late.

“Just get in there and get your mammogram now and get back on track no matter what month it is. If you normally do it in October and you missed that, then go on and schedule it anytime you can,” said Dr. Stigers.

Dr. Stigers says that mammogram is still the gold standard in screening for women 40 and older.

“Screening is the best way to pick it up, so if we can pick up something before it can be felt, it’s really great,” said Dr. Stigers.

For some women, the cost of screening can be a barrier, but that’s where the Yes Mamm program comes in.

“It’s basically, Yes, Mamm, we can help you,” said Dr. Stigers.

In its 10th year, the program provides free mammography screening, diagnostic services, and support to those uninsured or underinsured.

“It has provided thousands of mammograms, it has provided transportation, it’s provided this cold cap to help women maintain their hair during chemo,” said Dr. Stigers.

While there is no cure, Dr. Stigers says those diagnosed with breast cancer should know there is hope, and this month helps to shine a bright pink light on it.

“Because every year we, unfortunately, see a lot of cancers, probably the most all year in October, and that just tells me this awareness the whole campaign helps and it gets people in,” said Dr. Kimberly Stigers.

Dr. Stigers says knowing your family history is essential in determining if you need to be screened earlier.

For more information on the Yes Mamm program and how Kentucky CancerLink can help, click here.