FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Colleen Valdini
Public & External Affairs Manager
VP, Public & External Affairs
Phone: (631) 376-4104
Date: August 5, 2010
West Islip, NY – Approximately 160,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year. Most breast cancer occurs in women over the age of 50 years. About one in eight women will learn she has breast cancer at some point in her life. This might sound scary, but today fewer and fewer women are dying from breast cancer. Many women have overcome breast cancer and are living life to its fullest. With breast cancer screening tools, including mammograms, doctors often can detect cancer sooner. Treatment is more likely to work well when cancer is found early.
Despite this progress, recently released findings pertaining to mammography have resulted in some confusion regarding screenings. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a group of health experts that reviews published research concerning preventive health care, issued its findings, which conflict with the established American Cancer Society (ACR) guidelines. Essentially, the differences hinge upon the age and frequency at which women should get mammograms, in addition to the effectiveness of self-exams.
“It is unfortunate that the USPSTF’s information has intensified the confusion and anxiety regarding breast cancer screening. The methodology isunclear. Health care workers on the front lines see breast cancer in patients below age 50 on a routine basis. What is clear is that mammography is effective for women in their 40s. This is particularly true in the Long Island area, where we have one of the highest breast cancer rates in the country,” stated, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center’s Director of Breast Imaging Joshua Kalowitz, MD.
Debra Adams of Bay Shore was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40. Due to her family history of breast cancer – her mother was diagnosed in her mid-50s and her sister in her mid-40s – she began yearly mammograms at age 35. Ms. Adams’s mammograms were consistent for five years, until a change was noticed that required additional testing. Sonogram and MRI testing done at Good Samaritan showed possible abnormalities in different areas of both breasts. Fortunately, while performing a biopsy, the technician looked at an area that did not look overly suspicious, but turned out to be positive.
“My experience with Good Samaritan’s mammography and diagnostic testing was phenomenal,” said Ms. Adams. “All the technicians, nurses and doctors took special care of me, supported me and followed up on my condition often. They held my hand throughout the process, which made it all bearable.”
The mammography and diagnostic staff at Good Samaritan is committed to a very personal and concerned approach for breast health care. The latest resources are used to promote and encourage the most effective treatment for patients. Each woman should consult her physician on the most appropriate diagnostic options. For more information about mammography services, support groups and patient the navigator program at Good Samaritan Hospital, please call (631) 376-4444.
Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center is a 537-bed (including 100 nursing home beds), voluntary, not-for-profit hospital located in West Islip. The medical center, which has more than 4,500 employees and almost 900 physicians on staff, had more than 30,000 patient admissions and almost 100,000 Emergency Department visits in 2009. Good Samaritan is a member of Catholic Health Services of Long Island. Visit the website at www.good-samaritan-hospital.org.
Good Samaritan provides approximately $49 million in community service and charity care each year. The medical center supplies residents with the tools necessary to maintain good health. This includes community lectures, screenings, health fairs and other community programs and services.