UPHS highlights importance of regular screening for breast cancer

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and U.P. Health System is urging women and men to understand their risks and to get properly screened.

"With detecting cancer earlier, the less treatment they have to go through, leads to better outcomes," said Rebecca MacFalda, a Genetic Counselor with UPHS-Marquette and the only genetic counselor in the Upper Peninsula.

Breast cancer is the number one cancer diagnosed in women and the second leading cause of death among women.

"It's very important to recognize your risk and to talk with your doctor," urged Dr. Sheetal Acharya, Medical Oncologist with UPHS Marquette.

U.P. Health System says annual mammograms are crucial to screening for breast cancer early. Their 3-D mammograms can see more layers of breast tissue than traditional mammograms, meaning they detect cancer cells earlier.

"For this particular cancer we know that we have the means to detect it early and increase the chances of survivorship," said Dr. Acharya.

UPHS has earned the accreditation of a 'Breast Imaging Center of Excellence' because of their screening processes. They are also the only center in the Upper Peninsula to hold the accreditation of a Breast Program Center of Excellence.

"When you're diagnosed with breast cancer you've got a lot on your plate, you've got a lot you have to think about and wondering, 'Am I going to the right place?' should not be one of those things added on," said Dr. Heidi Henry, a Breast Imaging Specialist.

Dr. Henry and Dr. Acharya agree women should begin getting annual mammograms once they turn 40. They say everyone, women and men, should be familiar with different risk factors that may make them more prone to breast cancer like family history and genetics.

"A foundation of outstanding imaging, imaging is how we find the majority of our breast cancers and so that needs to be rock solid. And it is," said Dr. Henry.

For more information on screening guidelines and UPHS's Breast Program Center of Excellence, click here.

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