Harlingen – Every 19 seconds someone in the world is diagnosed with this potentially deadly disease. In the U.S. alone, one in eight women will be diagnosed with it. But, breast cancer is a disease that can be stopped. Harlingen Medical Center is helping the women of the Rio Grande Valley do just that during the month of May – celebrating 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 either help avoid a bout with breast cancer or at the least lower the risk of developing breast cancer,” said Roy Castillo, Radiology and Imaging Director 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 computer aided detection (CAD) system, which produces a digitized mammographic image from a conventional film mammogram or a digitally acquired mammogram is analyzed for masses, calcifications, or areas of abnormal density that may indicate the presence of cancer. The images are highlighted by the CAD system for further analysis by one of the radiologists on staff.
“There is no doubt that a mammogram can save your life,” said Castillo. “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.”
According to the American Cancer Society, women may experience symptoms of breast cancer at any age, but, certainly more possible in women older than 40 years of age. Some of these symptoms include:
“Mammograms are usually performed on females 40 years of age or older,” said Castillo. “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 females should begin having a mammogram, but agrees 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 females may need to start earlier than 40 due to a family history of breast cancer.
“The best thing for a female to do is if she feels or sees anything abnormal [on her breasts], then she should seek medical attention from their primary care physician or their health care provider of choice,” said Castillo. “It is important that they seek medical attention immediately as early detection is the key to surviving this potentially fatal illness.”
The digital mammogram screening at Harlingen Medical Center will be offered during the entire month of May for the special rate of $99. Those interested in the screening may call the Registration Department at (956) 365-1839. When scheduling your appointment, 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.
The Registration Department is open Monday thru Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.