Today we welcome Dr. Regina Hampton, MD, FACS, and co-founder of Breast Care for Washington, D.C. A locally recognized expert on breast disease, Dr. Hampton is the medical director of the Breast Care Center at Doctors Community Hospital in Prince Georges County. Dr. Hampton explains the benefits of 3D mammograms and gives us some background on Breast Care of Washington, D.C. She also offers a few important reminders regarding breast health.
Benefits of 3D Mammograms
I have always believed health care should be accessible. Unfortunately, in these times, this is not a popular view. It is particularly troubling that vulnerable populations are challenged in this aspect. Being a breast surgeon, I have witnessed many great advances in breast cancer detection and treatments. We have newer technology in the form of 3D mammograms, which allow us to diagnose up to 40% more cancers at earlier stages. This is great news since the 5-year survival rates for Stage 0 and Stage 1 breast cancer is nearly 100%.
3D Mammograms Are Crucial to My Community
This was my motivation to co-found the non-profit organization, Breast Care for Washington. Our goal is to provide mammography services to women regardless of their ability to pay. Since opening our doors in 2014, we have provided over 2,500 mammograms. We have been able to provide education and sponsor fun events to help decrease the fear and dispel myths regarding mammograms. It is important to offer 3D mammograms in the community of this vulnerable population. Having to catch two buses and a subway to get a mammogram across town is not an acceptable option. To develop a trusted reputation, it is important for services to be accessible, culturally appropriate and located within the community.
Simple Strategies for Breast Health
It is important to be diligent in getting yearly mammograms, to see your doctor for clinical breast exams and to implement breast self-awareness. Furthermore, this combination approach allows abnormalities to be identified early. Not every finding is cancerous, and women should not be alarmed but be committed to following through with all required testing until a final answer is obtained. Being proactive and aware is the key to being a survivor!
Thank you for sharing this information, Dr. Hampton! Breast Care for Washington D.C. is an excellent example of what just a few motivated women can do to help African American women overcome the disparity in breast cancer survival rates. Check back here at I’m Taking Charge this month for more stories and information about African American women and breast cancer. And be sure to check out “What If I Am African American?” page (COMING SOON).