Doctor Recommends “Baseline” Breast Cancer Screening at 35

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — For thirty-seven years, October has been Breast Cancer Awareness Month, calling attention to a disease that will affect as many as one in eight women in their lifetime.

According to Dr. Stephen Greer of the University of Tennessee Medical Association, early diagnosis is key to treating the disease.

“Early detection makes such a key difference. We can take something that’s very small and extremely treatable. Sometimes by finding things early we can avoid the need for chemotherapy, sometimes radiation. But we have to find these early. Typically by the time it’s palpable, by the time you can feel the cancer, it’s usually pretty big,” said Greer.

The common advice is to get one mammogram every year after age forty, but Dr. Greer recommends getting at least one after age thirty-five.

“There is a newer recommendation — between the ages of thirty-five and forty to have a single mammogram, as a baseline, so we have something to compare to for their first screening mammogram,” he said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer women made appointments for screenings.

Dr. Greer says this lead to higher instances of advanced breast cancer as the pandemic went on.

“That interrupted a lot of schedules, and patients of ours that had had very regular mammograms on a yearly basis missed them. And we did see an uptick in more advanced breast cancers as a cause of that,” he said.

Dr. Greer works frequently with Park Ridge Hospital, and locations where patients can get mammograms are listed on Park Ridge’s website.

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