Skip to main content

San Clemente Journal

Spread the Word: Mammography Saves Lives

Nov 01, 2009 11:17AM ● By Don Kindred

by Elisabeth Sezonov

Mammography is one of the best tools available for finding breast cancer early - when it’s most treatable. According to the Centers for Disease Control, screening mammograms can reduce breast cancer deaths by approximately 30 percent in women 50 to 69 years of age and approximately 25 percent in women 40 to 49 years old. With these numbers, why is it that so many women are skipping this potentially lifesaving test? 

The American Cancer Society and many other professional societies recommend that women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram once a year. For many years, women were heeding this advice. According to the American Cancer Society, the percentage of U.S. women ages 40 and older who were getting regular mammograms grew steadily between 1987 and 2000.

Numbers Declining
Unfortunately, however, studies show that the number of women having mammograms is on the decline. Researchers with the National Cancer Institute have found this is a national trend. What’s more, many subgroups of women, including some who have traditionally had the highest rates of mammography use, are forgoing this important test. For example, between 2000 and 2005, mammography use dropped by nearly 7 percent among women ages 50 to 64, the group with the largest number of breast cancer cases in the U.S. 
“Mammography remains the most powerful screening tool we have to reduce the number of women’s deaths caused by breast cancer” reminds Peggy A. Pugh, M.D., a radiologist and breast imaging specialist at Saddleback Memorial. “Mammography alone can detect about 85% of breast cancer, and can do this long before the cancer is big enough to be felt as a lump”

Breast Cancer Expertise
The Memorial Care Breast Centers in Laguna Hills and San Clemente are known for their expertise in the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. The center assisted upwards of 26,000 women last year. They partner with physicians who are breast dedicated radiologists devoted to the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. The breast specialist radiologists interpret the center’s state of the art digital mammograms as well as perform and read all breast ultrasounds.
“Every newly diagnosed patient receives consultation and education so she can participate in her own treatment decisions,” says Dr. Pugh. “Our Nurse Practitioner, Marci Smith, supports each patient in choosing their own team of specialists and assists each patient in navigating their course of treatment. New patient cases are presented at weekly pretreatment planning conferences attended by a multidisciplinary group of physicians. The treatment planning conference is at the heart of the center’s quality of care. The treatment team members include Surgeons, Oncologists, Radiation Oncologists, Plastic Surgeons, Genetic Counselors, Medical Social Worker, Pathologists and Radiologists. This ensures that patients receive comprehensive, coordinated and individualized care.” 

Digital Mammography Close to Home
Last year the Memorial Care Breast Center in San Clemente opened it’s doors, adding another dimension of convenience to the lives of busy women living in south Orange County. The new facility, a screening satellite site, is an extension of the Memorial Care Breast Center at Saddleback Memorial – Laguna Hills, where staff provides advanced follow-up breast care should it be necessary. 

The San Clemente facility, located at the Saddleback Health Center in Talega, provides easier access to digital mammography for San Clemente residents. 

The Saddleback Health Center also houses other Orange Coast Women’s Medical Group and Saddleback Memorial’s cardiac rehabilitation, laboratory draw station and outpatient rehabilitation. 

To schedule your digital screening mammogram at the Memorial Care Breast Center in San Clemente, please call 452.7200.