SANTA BARBARA, Calif.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month has just begun and Doctors with the Ridely-Tree Cancer Center at Sansum Clinic in Santa Barbara believe its an opportunity to remind people to get mammograms.
Dr. Juliet Penn said,"Cancer has not taken a break."
She said there have been extra challenges in the past year.
"Many people have put off care, screening mammograms, regular follow ups, thinking that they don't want to be in a medical setting for fear of catching COVID.
The oncologist said they have been working during the pandemic.
"Hopefully, this month brings that awareness.
Dr. Rosa Choi agrees.
The surgeon said they are playing catch up.
"With the pandemic last year, we have had a 50 percent reduction in our own community of screened mammograms and with more awareness and messaging and reminders we are encouraging women, as it becomes more safe and the vaccinations are being administered and received, that it is safe to come back in and do mammograms."
Both doctors believe the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center has a lot to offer.
"The physicians here are among the best in the world, I trust them with my care, I trust them with my family's care, "said Dr. Penn
And the center offers services under one roof.
"This facility is four years old now, and it houses medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical, oncology, cancer dietician, and so it is housed in one building so people can walk into this building and see all those services in our community," said Choi.
Dr. Penn said that is not the norm so close to home.
"You have all of your services, your surgeons, your medical oncologists, your radiation doctor, wellness, research, navigation, nutrition, genetics all under one roof we all work together, we all see each other, there is nowhere else, nowhere else you can get that."
They hope it is comforting for people in Santa Barbara County.
This month serves as a remind to do self exams.
"Know your body, don't be afraid to touch it, feel it, know how it looks, know how it feels, and if anything changes go to a doctor," said Dr. Penn.
Dr. Choi said the latest treatments are saving lives.
"Breast cancer treatment with a lot of immunotherapy helps increase survival.
New approaches optimize care and cancer diagnosis.
There is also a partnership with the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara that helps with financial challenges.
For more information visit www.ridleytreecc.org