AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and according to doctors at Georgia Regent's Health Center, more than 250,000 women are diagnosed with this disease each year.
Dr. Karen Panziti is the director of Breast Imaging Services at Georgia Regent's Health Center, and she said evolving technology at the hospital is helping to lower the fatality rate.
"About 40,000 women a year will die from breast cancer. Fortunately it's a number that's decreasing thanks to early detection and better treatment plans," she said.
Doctors at Georgia Regents Health Center use 3-D breast tomosynthesis. It allows them to see more than just a flat picture, which means they can see more detail and catch cancer earlier in patients.
"Mammography has been proven to reduce the mortality from breast cancer. It's a very helpful tool. We can find small cancers on a mammogram that can't be felt," Dr. Panziti said.
She said mammograms should be done yearly on women 40 and older. Dr. Panziti also said many women may not want to get tested because the disease doesn't run in the family, but that doesn't make them any less at risk.
"Eighty percent of women with breast cancer do not have a family history," said Panziti.
She also said women should be performing self breast exams monthly.
"If anything feels different, they need to bring that to their doctor's attention. Even if they just had a mammogram a couple of months ago which was normal or benign, they need to let their doctor know if something feels not right," Dr. Panziti said.
For anyone who may be going through treatment, Panziti has some words of encouragement.
"It's just a bump in the road and it's something that can be conquered and we just need to be aware of it and detect it early," she said.
For the month of October, Georgia Regents Breast Health Center is offering mammograms on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you would like to schedule an appointment, click here for more details.