Harlingen – Every 19 seconds someone in the world is diagnosed with this potentially
deadly illness. In the U.S. alone, one in eight women will be diagnosed
with it. But, breast cancer is an illness that can be stopped. Harlingen
Medical Center is helping the women of the Rio Grande Valley do just that
during the month of May – as we celebrate the women in our lives.
The award-winning and nationally recognized hospital, in conjunction with
Mother's Day, is offering its Digital Mammogram Screening for only $99.
"Having a mammogram has proven to either help avoid a bout with breast
cancer or at the least lower the risk of developing breast cancer,"
said Roy Castillo, Director of Radiology and Imaging at Harlingen Medical
Center. "Our advanced technology is so precise we can help identify
an issue, educate our patients, and treat them for any issue they may
The digital mammogram screening at Harlingen Medical Center takes between
20 and 30 minutes. The screening is utilized to detect breast cancers,
benign tumors, and cysts before they can be identified by touch, or develop
into a serious medical issue. The screening is performed with the utilization
of a computer aided detection (CAD) system, which produces a digitized
mammographic image from a conventional film mammogram or a digitally acquired
mammogram is analyzed for masses, calcifications, or areas of abnormal
density that may indicate the presence of cancer. The images are highlighted
by the CAD system for further analysis by one of the radiologists on staff.
"There is no doubt that a mammogram can save your life," said
Castillo. "Breast cancer deaths have been on the decline since the
early 1990's thanks in part to early detection, better screening –
like the one we offer, here, at Harlingen Medical Center, and increased
awareness and better treatment of the illness. The mammogram is a win-win
According to the American Cancer Society, women may experience symptoms
of breast cancer at any age, but, certainly more possible in women older
than 40 years of age. Some of these symptoms include:
- A change in size, shape, or contour of the breast;
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persist
through the menstrual cycle;
- A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea;
- A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple;
- A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple;
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple;
- An area that is distinctly different from any other area on the either breast;
- And, a marble-like hardened area under the skin.
"Mammograms are usually performed on females 40 years of age or older,"
said Castillo. "However, if you are younger than 40 years of age
and experience [some of these] symptoms, it is important that you visit
with your primary care physician to decide what is the next step for you
– in your line of care."
The American Cancer Society indicates there is no specific age in which
females should begin having a mammogram, but agrees that females should
begin having a mammogram at the age of 40 or 50, depending on your specific
health and family history. It also agrees some females may need to start
earlier than 40 due to a family history of breast cancer.
"The best thing for a female to do is if she feels or sees anything
abnormal [on her breasts], then she should seek medical attention from
their primary care physician or their health care provider of choice,"
said Castillo. "It is important that they seek medical attention
immediately as early detection is the key to surviving this potentially
The digital mammogram screening at Harlingen Medical Center will be offered
during the entire month of May for the nominal fee of $99. Those interested
in the screening may call the Registration Department at (956) 365-1839.
When registering, you will be asked to provide the name of a primary health
care physician, or a health care provider, so that your screening results
may be sent to their attention. They physician of choice will then further
discuss the results of the mammogram with the patient and decide what
course of action needs to be taken, if any at all.
The Registration Department is open Monday thru Friday between the hours
of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.