AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As October nears its end, it’s important for everyone to realize breast cancer awareness is something that should be considered the whole year.
“It’s very important to detect the cancer very early; that way, it’s curable, and they have a long life expectancy after that,” said Dr. S. Lakshmi Perni, diagnostic radiologist for the Steward Center for Health.
She said they start annual-screening mammograms for 40- to 50-year-olds but will start earlier if they find a person has high-risk factors. After 50, patients can go every two years if they don’t want to go annually.
“I get patients that say, ‘My doctor told me, I’m 75, I don’t need a mammogram anymore,'” said Dr. Perni. “That’s not true because when a patient gets older, the risk also gets more, so definitely, they need the mammogram every year or every two years, as long as they’re healthy.”
Dr. Perni has been practicing in the area since 1983 with a priority in mammography. In 1998, she started to focus on only mammography. Most of the patients she started seeing when she began her career still come to her at the Steward Health Center on Ohltown Road in Austintown.
“We do mammograms, ultrasounds, we do biopsies, stereotactic biopsy, ultrasound biopsy, and then the MRI and ductograms,” said Dr. Perni.
While not all cancer is preventable, it’s important for people to take care of themselves to lessen their risks of getting it.
“Keep healthy, like be active and not overweight, and limit your alcohol intake and smoking,” said Dr. Perni.
Some factors individuals can’t prevent, such as hereditary factors. This means a person might have higher risk if someone in their family had cancer.
“They could start the screening process earlier, like as I said, before 40, and they can do annually or even start with the ultrasounds at the same time,” said Dr. Perni.
She and the staff at Steward Health realize a pandemic is going on, but don’t want people to be afraid to get the care they need. They are taking the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe, which includes phone screenings.
“They call before. With the COVID time, we had some cancellations because they were concerned, but now they’re coming,” said Dr. Perni.
The important thing is to make sure to stay up-to-date on exams, because the sooner something is detected, the more curable it is.
“Oh yeah, the earlier the better,” said Dr. Perni.
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