NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and doctors are reminding women of the importance of mammograms and breast self-exams.
“I have patients that are elderly, young, mothers, in school, working, some men,” said Emily Compton who helps in the fight against breast cancer at Trident Medical Center as a nurse navigator.
It’s the second most common cancer in women in the United States. One in eight women develop it.
“Following them through the whole journey. I mean that’s the best part,” said Compton.
Nurse navigators like Compton help patients through the treatment process connecting them to resources and information to help make important decisions.
“Each patient has their own emotion and their own anxieties, and I think it’s important to have a conversation, let patients know that there’s someone there, there’s someone there that can listen, there’s someone there that can help,” said Compton.
The cancer starts when cells begin to grow out of control. Those cells usually form a tumor that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump.
“Patients are aware of their own bodies; you know they know if something is a little bit different. If there’s a pain that wasn’t there before. A lump, bump, changes,” said Compton.
Doctors say being screened early is important.
“We now have 3D monograms where we’re making it as comfortable for patients as it can be and they’re so sensitive now that we’re picking up breast cancer, you know, a lot earlier,” said Compton.
Patients should be looking to getting screened for mammograms at the age of 40.
“Every patient is a little bit different, so if they’re with their healthcare provider and they’re suspicious of something else and they may go earlier prior to that self-exams is the best way,” said Compton and remember just because it’s October doesn’t mean that’s the only time you can or should be screened for breast cancer.
“October has an influx of people and hey it’s something you can just put on your to do list and call and make an appointment. Make it for November if you think it’s going to be too crowded,” said Compton.