October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. While the world looks different now, and many people have delayed routine healthcare to focus on social distancing and balancing a work-from-home lifestyle and childcare, there are still many ways to get involved and get the care you need.
While there may not be large walks to raise money and awareness this year, you can still help out online. There are numerous websites that take online donations and offer free resources. You and your family can get involved online, share your stories on social media, and encourage others to get screened.
Mammogram services are being performed around the Raleigh area. You do not need an order ahead of time in Wake County. Simply call your nearest provider to schedule this test. You will be asked a series of questions and screened for signs or symptoms of COVID prior to your visit.
Many locations offer 3D imaging at the time of the mammogram, which has been a promising development in the detection of early breast cancers, especially in women that have denser breast tissue. Women often ask when they should start mammography screening. Major guidelines differ, but it is important to ask your health care provider when is the right time for you. Typically this begins around age 40.
It is important to establish care with a provider to learn if you are at an increased risk for breast cancer in your lifetime. The average risk is approximately 1 in 8. If you have a strong family history of breast cancer, your risk could be increased. There are certain genes, including BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, that also significantly increase these chances. Talk with your provider about screening and testing options that may be right for you.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and limiting alcohol could help to reduce your risks. Routine annual exams are an important part of breast health too, and your health care provider can instruct you on normal findings and how to be aware of any changes.
About Chantel Roedner, MD
Dr. Chantel Roedner joined WakeMed Physician Practices as an OB/GYN after completing her residency at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earning her medical degree at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Her clinical interests include high risk obstetrics, infertility, minimally invasive gynecological surgery including robotic surgery, well woman care and contraception.