Breast Cancer Awareness Month gets plenty of attention. The question is, are women acting on the plea to get their annual mammogram? Across the country, and right here in mid-Michigan, patients continue to delay and avoid medical care, even routine life-saving screenings.

 “As a physician, I cannot stress enough the importance of early detection and how key it is to breast cancer survival,” said Ashley Richardson, DO, a breast surgical oncologist at McLaren Flint. “Survival outcomes depend largely on the cancer stage at diagnosis.

 For breast cancer, the five-year survival rate is 99 percent for tumors located within the breast. This rate drops sharply to 27 percent once the cancer has metastasized to distant parts of the body such as the lungs, liver or bones. This year is like no other in our lifetime, and as a physician I feel compelled to do my part to encourage patients not to neglect their health; measures are in place to provide safe care.”

 Thanks to the latest technology, breast tissue can be seen much more clearly, allowing for detection of cancers that are much smaller and at an earlier stage. Both the McLaren Imaging Center in Flint and McLaren Fenton offer the newest technology in 3-D breast imaging. These exams are clinically proven to significantly increase the detection of breast cancers, while simultaneously decreasing the number of women asked to return for additional testing. It is also the only 3-D mammography exam approved by the FDA as superior for women with dense breasts.

 The 3-D Mammography exam has revolutionized how breast cancer is detected by providing a better option for women of all breast densities compared to 2-D alone. Researchers have found that:

 • The 3-D Mammography exam finds 20-65 percent more invasive breast cancers compared to 2-D alone, an average increase of 41 percent.

 • The 3-D Mammography exam reduces callbacks by up to 40 percent compared to 2-D alone.

 McLaren’s imaging centers are continuing to follow strict safety standards, including staff wearing proper personal protective equipment, patients being screened for COVID-19 before coming in for their appointments, and cleaning of high-touch areas. Waiting rooms also have social distancing measures in place.

 To schedule an appointment by phone or online, go to

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