Munson Healthcare Encourages Women to Get Mammograms During Breast Cancer Awareness Month

One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and during breast cancer awareness month, Munson Healthcare wants to remind you to look for signs and symptoms of cancer, and get your annual screening.

Breast Cancer“It’s just so common,” said Munson Healthcare Executive Director of Cancer Services Kathy Laraia. “You just have to pay attention and if it’s caught early, there are many many treatment options available.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 280,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer per year.

“In the state of Michigan, it’s about close to 9000 a year,” Laraia said. “It’s not as prevalent but there’s still probably close to 3,000 men in the United States that get diagnosed with cancer, as well.”

During Covid, Laraia said there was an obvious drop in cancer screenings.

“We saw about a 13% reduction in just typical screening mammography,” she said. “A year and a half later, we started to see a higher incidence of cancer, and not at an early stage either.”

Laraia shared some statistics from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services from 2019.

“The cancer Atlas from 2019 from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, our region of northern Michigan has some of the highest incidence of breast cancer under age 50,” she said. “Typically Leelanau County, Grand Traverse County, a couple of the counties east as well. We’ve been working with Michigan State University’s epidemiologist trying to pinpoint maybe why that is.”

Thirty to fifty percent of cancers are preventable, and changing lifestyle habits can lower your chances.

“Obesity, smoking, all of those personal habits can definitely lead to an increased incidence of it,” said Laraia. “Hereditary breast cancer is a very low percentage, so if you’re at high risk within your family members, and you want to seek genetic counseling or genetic testing, that’s probably a very, very good idea. But typically, lifestyle changes can really prevent many cancers, not just breast cancer.”

Starting mammograms at age 40 is typical, though consulting with your doctor for when to start is the best course of action.

“If it’s a reminder to yourself, when was my last screening mam, during Covid, it may have been a year or two or two and a half years ago, even though you thought it was just last year,” said Laraia.

Laraia said most of their mammogram service sites will be open on Saturday, Oct. 22 for extended services.

To find out how to schedule a mammogram, click here.