Most of us know October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s usually our reminder to schedule that annual mammogram. While mammograms are very important, it’s also important to know how crucial annual exams with your primary care provider are when it comes to detecting breast cancer.
“Primary care providers play a very important role in your health and the care you receive over the course of your life,” said Dr. Brittney Berckman, an Internal Medicine Specialist with Southwell. “Primary care providers may be the only doctors that some patients see, especially if you are in good health. If you become chronically ill, primary care providers may be the first ones who see and diagnose your illness. They may even coordinate your care long term. We know that most cancers, including breast cancer, are initially detected in primary care settings. This is especially true for women younger than 40 diagnosed with cancer and for women who put off their mammograms.”
Primary care providers can also work with you on things like tobacco use, diet, physical activity, sun protection, alcohol use, and vaccinations that may help reduce your risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, and other cancers.
“This October, we want to encourage community members to get or schedule their annual exams with their primary care provider in addition to their yearly mammogram, if they’re eligible for one,” said Berckman. “If you don’t have a primary care provider, visit www.mysouthwell.com/primarycare.”