Harlingen — Every 19 seconds someone in the world is diagnosed with this potentially deadly illness. In the U.S. alone, one in eight women will be diagnosed with it. But, breast cancer is an illness that can be stopped. Harlingen Medical Center is helping the women of the Rio Grande Valley do just that during the month of May – as we celebrate the women in our lives. The award-winning and nationally-recognized hospital, in conjunction with Mother’s Day, is offering its Digital Mammogram Screening for only $99.
“Having a mammogram has proven to help avoid a long bout with breast cancer because of early detection,” said Roy Castillo, Director of Radiology and Imaging at Harlingen Medical Center. “Our advanced technology is so precise we can help identify an issue, educate our patients, and treat them for any issue they may face.”
The digital mammogram screening at Harlingen Medical Center takes between 20 and 30 minutes. The screening is utilized to detect breast cancers, benign tumors, and cysts before they can be identified by touch, or develop into a serious medical issue. The screening is performed with the utilization of a computed radiography, which produces a digitized mammographic image. The mammogram is analyzed for masses, calcifications, or areas of abnormal density which may indicate the presence of cancer.
“There is no doubt that a mammogram can save your life,” Castillo added. “Breast cancer deaths have been on the decline since the early 1990’s, thanks in part to early detection, better screening – like the one we offer, here, at Harlingen Medical Center, and increased awareness and better treatment of the illness. The mammogram is a win-win for women.”
According to the American Cancer Society, women may experience symptoms of breast cancer at any age, but, certainly it is more possible in women older than 40 years of age. Some of these symptoms include:
* A change in size, shape, or contour of the breast;
* A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persist through the menstrual cycle;
* A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea;
* A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple;
* A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple;
* Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple;
* An area that is distinctly different from any other area on the either breast;
* And, a marble-like hardened area under the skin.
“Mammograms are usually performed on females 40 years of age or older,” Castillo said. “However, if you are younger than 40 years of age and experience [some of these] symptoms, it is important that you visit with your primary care physician to decide what is the next step for you – in your line of care.”
The American Cancer Society indicates there is no specific age in which women should begin having a mammogram, but states that females should begin having a mammogram at the age of 40 or 50, depending on your specific health and family history. It also agrees some women may need to start earlier than 40 due to a family history of breast cancer.
“The best thing for a woman to do is if she feels or sees anything abnormal [on her breasts], then she should seek medical attention from her primary care physician or her health care provider of choice,” said Castillo. “It is important that she seek medical attention immediately, as early detection is the key to surviving this potentially fatal illness.”
If you go
The digital mammogram screening at Harlingen Medical Center will be offered during the entire month of May for a nominal fee of $99. Those interested in the screening may call the Registration Department at (956) 365-1839, Monday thru Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. When registering, you will be asked to provide the name of a primary health care physician, or a health care provider, so that your screening results may be sent to their attention. They physician of choice will then further discuss the results of the mammogram with the patient and decide what course of action needs to be taken, if any at all.
For more information on mammography and radiology and imaging services, please consult your physician and visit http://www.