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Local Physician Talks About The Importance Of Mammography Screenings Now That Breast Cancer Awareness Month Is Underway

Fri 10-2-2020

(Spirit Lake)-- It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month through the month of October. Dr. Craig Cunningham, a physician at Lakes Regional Healthcare, says one in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease over their lifetime, and that it's the second leading cause of cancer death among women. It can be treatable, but he says early detection is key. He says a 3-D mammogram, like those offered at Lakes Regional Healthcare, should be an important part of a woman's healthcare regimen...Dr. Cunningham01 

"It allows us to visualize a little bit more than we maybe wouldn't have previously. And really your recommendation as far as a mammogram goes is based on your age. Different societies have some different recommendations but overall after age 40 you can think about starting to get one every year, and really this is a discussion you can have with your doctor for a little bit more specifics. Between age 45 and 54 we definitely recommend getting one every year and the after age 55 you can actually maybe go out to every other year, but also can still get them every year. It just kind of depends with the patient's comfort level and the provider's recommendations."

He says family history can also come into play...Dr. Cunningham02 

"These recommendations, these kind of broad recommendations that we're making are based on average risk women. So these are women that have no significant family history of breast cancer. But if you do have a family history of breast cancer, that may put you at a higher risk category. There are some different recommendations for those women and I don't want to get into the specifics of those, because it's highly individualized on that front."

Dr. Cunningham adds Lakes Regional Healthcare has once again resumed cancer screenings, which had been temporarily suspended earlier due to the pandemic...Dr. Cunningham03 

"We want to see everybody that maybe we missed back in March and April and May, so we're excited to get people back into the clinic and get their cancer screenings they need."

Dr. Cunningham says the best way to arrange that is to contact your physician.