JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer amongst women in the U.S, making early detection critical for determining a patient’s treatment plan. For personnel and beneficiaries at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, scheduling an appointment with the 633d Mammography Clinic could be a lifesaving step in early detection.
“When breast cancer is caught early, most often, it is extremely treatable,” said Jaime Radik, 633d Mammography Clinic lead mammogram technician. “One in eight women get diagnosed with breast cancer, so getting screened is absolutely vital.”
The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends mammography screening every two years for women 50 to 74 years of age with average risk. The task force also recommends that women in their 40s talk to their doctor and make an individual decision about screening.
According to Radik, performing regular self-exams are an important part in detecting any abnormalities that might be cause for concern.
“My biggest piece of advice is to know what your breasts look and feel like,” Radik said. “You are your own first line of defense. Even though mammograms are the gold standard, knowing if something feels off in your own body is the very first step.”
In 2019, the clinic acquired a 3D Mammography System which has the capability to detect 20-65% more invasive breast cancers, as opposed to the 2D model. It also works more efficiently, as well as being more comfortable for patients.
“The images the 3D model provides are so much clearer,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. April Grant, 633d Mammography Clinic non-commissioned officer in charge. “It takes more pictures than the 2D, which is more to interpret, but as far as the patient is concerned, it’s much better.”
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, clinic technicians are encouraging everyone, not just women, to perform self-exams and schedule screenings, when deemed necessary. Though it is most commonly found in women, men can also get breast cancer. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, within the U.S., approximately 1 out of every 100 diagnoses of breast cancer is found in a man.
“It’s too easy to just get tested, don’t be afraid,” Grant said. “I talk to folks at the front desk when I see they have a mammogram ordered and I promise them it doesn’t hurt, might be uncomfortable for a little bit, but it’s not bad. That reassures them and lets them know we’re going to take care of them.”
The 633d Mammography Clinic is open Monday - Friday, 7:30am - 4:30pm for appointments; contact your Langley PCM to discuss your risk factors for breast cancer or to get a referral to the Langley Mammography clinic. For more information on breast cancer, visit breastcancer.org.