Breast screening challenge June 19 at North Bay Regional Health Centre
Anne Dockendorff admits she was putting off getting a mammogram. “I was one of those people that neglected to get a checkup for about five years,” says Dockendorff. “I would get letters in the mail reminding me to make an appointment and I would put it off saying I would do it next week and so on.”
After getting a push from her family physician, Dockendorff booked an appointment with the Ontario Breast Screening Program at the North Bay Regional Health Centre.
Dockendorff says she’s grateful she did — it was a screening mammogram that caught her breast cancer.
“It was almost serendipitous that we caught the tumour when we did. I had just gone to the doctor’s for a routine exam and nothing was found,” explains Dockendorff. “However, he noticed how long it had been since my last mammogram and encouraged me to get up to date.”
Natalie Kohlsmith, a charge technologist in the health centre’s diagnostic imaging, says Dockendorff’s situation is common.
“The mammogram is the best screening test for breast cancer and is intended for women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. That’s why it’s so important to get screened regularly,” explains Kohlsmith. “Most women know having a mammogram is important, they just haven’t made the time.”
Routine cancer screening for women ages 50 to 74 is an effective approach to detect breast cancer early. When cancer is detected early, more treatment options are available and there is a better chance of survival. But only 64 per cent of eligible women are getting mammograms in Ontario.
Women who have been putting off having a mammogram for all types of reasons are encouraged to make their health a priority on June 19, as the health centre is hosting its annual Mammothon Breast Screening Challenge again from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m..
The one-day breast screening event encourages as many women as possible between the ages of 50 and 74 to check mammogram off their to-do list by booking and completing a mammogram.
This large-scale regional campaign helps address common barriers women experience toward regular cancer screening including fear, embarrassment, limited time and lack of awareness.
No doctor referral is required and parking is free for the event. For more information about the challenge, call 705-495-7930.