Pat Newton gets her yearly mammograms religiously and has so since she was 45. All her results have come back cancer-free until two years ago when she was 73.
Fortunately, because she had been getting her mammograms regularly, her cancer was caught early, meaning her treatment was relatively minimal.
Newton had a mastectomy but never had to have chemotherapy or radiation.
Newton says she now tells all women to have their mammogram even if they are scared of them.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” Newton says. “You can deal with the news on the table, [but] if you can’t deal with the unknown, you live in fear.”
Dr. Dan Cosgrove, one of Newton’s doctors, specializes in preventive medicine, and he says mammograms for women over 40 are extremely important for their health.
In fact, he says it is a matter of life or death.
“If you don’t have symptoms and signs [in the first few tests], it could be growing in there with no symptoms in a long time,” Dr. Cosgrove says
And by that point, most cases of breast cancer would be serious with a grim prognosis.
Twelve-and-a-half percent of women will get breast cancer at some point in their life.
But according to Dr. Cosgrove and with Pat Newton living proof, cancer is curable and treatable if caught early enough.
Dr. Cosgrove also recommends women get an MRI or ultrasound. He says they can also be helpful in detecting an early stage of breast cancer.
If you don’t have insurance and can’t afford a mammogram, the Desert Cancer Foundation may be able to help.
You can read more information on free mammograms at www.desertcancerfoundation.com.