Cancer center director: Access, convenience and safety are key to curbing breast cancer – News – Savannah Morning News

Health care has certainly been at the forefront of our lives over the last few months. As humans, we have faced constant and numerous challenges to life as we know it during a global pandemic. Despite the recent life-altering changes and protective strategies now incorporated into the defense of our own personal health, it’s important to remember that we cannot let our guard down regarding other critical health issues.

Heart disease, stroke, cancer and other life-threatening diseases have not taken an intermission during this pandemic. They remain center stage, becoming even critical when left unattended. However, some people have chosen to postpone certain health screenings that in the end could cause even more serious health concerns.

True, thousands of patients have taken advantage of technology, experiencing the benefits of telemedicine over the last eight months with online patient visits. Unfortunately, medical tests and diagnostic screenings, including mammograms, cannot be completed virtually.

That’s why St. Joseph’s/Candler, the Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion, and the Mary Telfair Women’s Hospital are committed to providing access, convenience and safety to those in our community who understand the benefits of proactive health screenings such as an annual mammogram.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates over 276,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and an estimated 42,170 deaths will be attributed to this disease. Moreover, breast cancer — generally thought of as gender-specific— will also affect more than 2,600 American men this year, with an estimated 400 mortalities.

That’s more than 42,500 human lives lost to this disease each year. To bring that point “home,” that sum is roughly equal to the entire populations of Bloomingdale, Garden City, Pembroke, Pooler, Port Wentworth, Richmond Hill, Thunderbolt and Tybee Island, COMBINED. Now, consider the exponentially larger number of lives effected by the collateral damage of such devastating losses.

That’s precisely why St. Joseph’s/Candler offers numerous convenient access points for screening mammograms throughout the region. Equally compelling this year is that every possible safety precaution has been implemented to contain the strain of the virus and reduce any reservations one may have.

However, access is so much more than physical entrée to services. Our oncology researchers at the Nancy N. and J.C Lewis Cancer and Research Pavilion, as part of National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), have been developing pathways to best provide access to the latest scientific advances in the community.

Specific benefits include ongoing efforts at reducing health care disparities, setting standards for the collection and storage of bio-specimens, linking national databases for conducting research and sharing results, and providing access to the latest research and clinical trials that will help expedite even further advances.

Access. Convenience. Safety. Those are key components to ensuring your health remains healthy. This year, there is no reason why anyone should postpone or forego an essential life-saving mammogram.

Our annual Mammogram Day will be held on Monday, October 26th at six convenient locations throughout the region. Call 819-PINK to schedule your annual mammogram today.

Nancy Johnson is executive director at the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion.

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