October 8, 2021
The Importance of Preventative Health Care
With so much attention on COVID-19 over the last 19 months, it is understandable how the community could lose sight of other medical priorities. Tragically, while the coronavirus has claimed the lives of over 700,000 Americans (and counting), many lives have also been lost due to other diseases as well.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it is time to refocus our attention to preventative care. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in women worldwide, and it is the most common female cancer in the United States.
Most everyone has been affected by this disease in some way or another, whether it’s personally, through a family member, work acquaintance or a close friend. The good news is that breast cancer mortality rates have decreased significantly since the 1970s, largely due to improved breast cancer screening and developments in treatment options.
Through increased awareness and scientific advancements, many lives have been saved. Early detection is crucial, and women who undergo regular screening with mammogram have a 60% lower risk of dying from breast cancer within 10 years of their diagnosis than women who do not undergo routine screening.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Hattiesburg Clinic OB-GYN physicians recommend annual mammograms starting at age 40. Other recommendations include:
- Women in their 40s should make individualized decisions based on risk factors and shared decision-making conversations with their physician.
- Women in their 50s, 60s, and early 70s should have regular screening according to all medical societies, including the American Cancer Society, American Academy of Family Physicians and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
- Women 75 years of age and older should also have individualized plans based on risk factors, overall health status and shared decision-making with their physician.
Hattiesburg Clinic Breast Center offers the latest technology to provide women with the best level of care possible. It is one of only 13 facilities in Mississippi to offer 3D digital mammography and is one of only 12 facilities in the state to be accredited by the American College of Radiology for stereotactic biopsy. Additionally, it is designated as a Breast Center of Excellence, a quality status that only 26 facilities in Mississippi have with accreditations in breast ultrasound, mammography, breast MRI and stereotactic biopsy. Two locations are available for mammography services: 421 South 28th Avenue (in 28th Place on the main Hattiesburg Clinic campus) and 6813 Highway 98 West (at Hattiesburg Clinic’s Lake Serene location).
If you are overdue for a mammogram, please send an Iris message or speak to your primary care physician or OB-GYN doctor about getting your breast cancer screening done. For everyone else, please check with the women in your life to make sure they haven’t let this important routine become less of a priority than it should be.
In other news, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have made recommendations for additional groups to receive booster vaccines if their primary series was through Pfizer. Those eligible to receive the booster include those 65 years of age and older, patients residing in long-term care facilities and those 18 years of age and older with an underlying medical condition. Additionally, patients who have a high occupational or institutional risk for exposure, such as health care workers, teachers, and grocery and convenience store employees, are also eligible to receive the Pfizer booster.
HealthWorks Immunization Clinic, a service of Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest General Hospital, is offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster for eligible patients. Booster shots may be booked through Iris, Hattiesburg Clinic’s patient portal or by calling (601) 261-1620.
With the Delta wave continuing to wane, this will be my last Iris update for hopefully a while. As I said in my update earlier this year, we will only provide these updates if circumstances change or warrant further communication.
Please stay safe,
Bryan N. Batson, MD
Chief Executive Officer