Every year, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, French Hospital Medical Center, and Marian Regional Medical Center recognize the significance of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and urge women to schedule their annual breast exams.
October serves as a gentle reminder of an annual mammogram, but breast health is of great importance to us all year long. Early breast cancer usually does not have any symptoms. It is important for women to understand the role of breast self-exams in helping each woman become more familiar with her breasts, which may help identify abnormalities or changes. It is also essential that women receive their regularly scheduled screening mammograms beginning at age 40 and continuing annually. If there is a family history of breast cancer, consulting a physician regarding the appropriate age to begin screenings could be life-saving. Dignity Health has partnered with many local organizations to offer free screening mammograms year round to those who may otherwise not afford them. Mammograms catch up to 90 percent of breast cancers, even before symptoms appear, and breast cancers caught in their earliest stages have a 98 percent survival rate.