Betty Huitron was only 32 years old when she went to her doctor to discuss a pain she was having in her chest.
“When you get a diagnosis like that, it’s devastating. You know you start doing your mammograms at 40 so I thought it was something else, I never thought you know the big word – cancer,” Huitron explains.
Huitron is the only person in her family to ever be diagnosed with breast cancer, disproving the common misconception that the disease is hereditary.
“Breast cancer unfortunately is what we call sporadic which means there is no risk factor for breast cancer. This is probably the most startling statistic and it’s that 60% of people that get breast cancer have no family history whatsoever,” Dr. Monica Rocco, Director of Breast Cancer Care at Mission Hope Cancer Center tells us.
The battle against breast cancer is getting a technological boost at all of the Dignity Health cancer centers.
The machine called tomosynthesis is a new type of mammography that provides a 3-D perspective of a women’s breast, allowing doctors to see things they may have missed previously.
“The beauty of that is they take nine slices or nine pictures and they can get nine different views,” Dr. Rocco explains.
While the tomosynthesis technology was not available when Huitron was diagnosed 12 years ago, she hopes women will take advantage of every resource they have available.
“It makes a huge difference when they catch it early, your survival rate is so high,” Huitron says.
Now for those with a family history of breast cancer, Dr. Rocco suggests women get examined 10 years before their family member was diagnosed. So if a relative was diagnosed at 45, she recommends seeing a doctor at age 35.
For more information on the tomosyntesis at the Dignity Health cancer centers, click here.