By: Stephanie Harris, BSN, RN, OPN-CG
Cancer can be one of the most frightening words a person can hear in their lifetime.
According to American Cancer Society, each year about 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers.
Currently, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13%. This means there is a 1-in-8 chance she will develop breast cancer. This also means there is a 7-in-8 chance she will never have the disease.
In 2018, Oklahoma City Indian Clinic’s (OKCIC) Capital Campaign was dedicated to bringing in-house mammography services, which are x-rays of the breast, to patients. Due to generous donors, OKCIC transitioned from the mobile mammogram van to the new in-house mammogram machine in October of 2019.
Shortly after providing this service to our patients, one of our first breast cancer diagnoses was discovered.
Peggy, a member of Osage Nation, was already a breast cancer survivor who was receiving her annual screening mammogram. After she received her mammogram at OKCIC, she was quickly notified that her cancer had returned after five years in remission. Peggy was in shock, but was quickly navigated into treatment.
Unlike her first cancer diagnosis, Peggy had to go through a more intense treatment this time.
“My family and friends are the ones who really helped me through this tough journey,” Peggy said.
Peggy is now in remission and urges everyone to receive their annual mammogram.
“Keep getting screened and stay strong,” Peggy said. “There are all kinds of help and support out there for you.”
The American Cancer Society recommends women aged 40 to 44 to have the choice to start annual breast cancer screenings with mammograms, but it is not required. Women aged 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year and women 55 and older can switch to mammograms every two years if desired.