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Routine Mammograms Save Lives

Routine screenings are essential to maintaining breast health, preventing disease, and receiving early diagnosis and treatment. However, recent studies have shown a drastic decrease in mammograms due to the pandemic. Thankfully, Kathryn Hammer, 54, knew she was at high risk for breast cancer and did not postpone her mammogram because of COVID-19.

“I knew it was a possibility for me some day,” says Kathryn. Even so, Kathryn was not overly concerned when in May 2020, a mammogram she had at the Overlake Cancer Center showed an area that needed more scrutiny. She was told that she would need a follow-up test. Kathryn still “thought it would be nothing.”

A biopsy revealed that she had invasive breast cancer. With expert guidance from Overlake breast surgeon April Phantana-angkool, MD, Kathryn decided to have breast-conserving therapy. Her surgery included a lumpectomy and evaluation of axillary lymph nodes. Her medical oncologist, Jason Comer, MD, recommended chemotherapy in addition to endocrine therapy. Following completion of chemotherapy, she underwent radiation therapy with guidance from radiation oncologist Nicholas Serrano, MD, to lower the risk of recurrence.

“Screening mammograms save lives because they can find cancer at its earliest stage,” says Dr. Phantana-angkool. In fact, if found and treated early, the average five-year survival rate for breast cancer is now 90%, and closer to 99% if cancer is located in the breast only.

Advanced Imaging with Your Comfort in Mind

A mammogram to screen for breast cancer is recommended every year if you are age 40 or older. The Overlake Breast Health Center provides breast screening services in Bellevue and Issaquah using 3D mammography—the most advanced technology available—which allows for earlier, less invasive treatment and better outcomes. The lowest doses of radiation are used, while capturing the clearest, most accurate images.

Since comfort is so important, we are pleased to offer the most comfortable mammography equipment with an ergonomic design and Mammopad® cushioning. If your mammogram shows areas of concern for breast cancer, your physician will conduct further tests to determine if cancer is actually present. These may include ultrasound imaging, advanced breast biopsy techniques, along with access to breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

If You Have a Cancer Diagnosis

With advanced diagnostic techniques, our experts at the Overlake Cancer Center can determine the type of cancer and evaluate whether it is early or advanced. Care at the Overlake Cancer Center is provided by a multidisciplinary team that includes medical oncologists, surgical oncologists and radiation oncologists. Trained nurses, dietitians, physical therapists, social workers and nurse navigators are available to help create the best possible treatment plan.

“My care at Overlake was comparable to major medical centers in the United States,” says Kathryn. “ Right in my neighborhood, I was able to benefit from the latest research, as well as an elite surgeon and optimal treatments. I am grateful.” 

To schedule your mammogram, call 425.688.5985.

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