New Braunfels resident Kaitlin Tanke, 33, was nursing her newborn daughter two years ago when she noticed a suspicious lump in her breast.
Ten months later a scan and exam revealed incurable metastatic breast cancer.
Today is National Mammography Day, and the mother of two young children has a message for other women: Don’t delay.
“Make sure you express to your doctors if you have any concerns whatsoever about your breast health because it will save your life,” she said.
Roben Caufield, director of New Braunfels Resolute Health Hospital’s imaging program, said delaying screening is risky because breast cancer can be present with no symptoms long before it’s detected.
Approximately 170,000 people in the United States are living with metastatic breast cancer. Fewer than one in three women who are diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer later develop metastatic cancer. One in eight U.S. women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives.
“We want to remind women on National Mammography Day and all year round, that mammograms are safe, fast, effective and can save lives,” Caufield said. “Our goal is to make mammograms as comfortable and stress-free as possible,” she said.
The American Society of Breast Surgeons and the American Society of Breast Surgeons and the American College of Radiology recommend women who have no personal or family history or genetic predisposition for breast cancer begin annual mammogram screening at age 40.
Women who have a higher-than-average risk for breast cancer — such as the presence of genes like BRCA1 or BRAC2 in their genes — should consult with their physicians about the frequency of screenings, which could begin as early as age 25 or 30.
To schedule a mammogram at Resolute call 830-500-6615.