HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Mammograms are typically for patients ages 40 to 50, but health officials encourage women to be knowledgeable about breast cancer at an early age.
According to the Texas Health and Human Services, breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the state, which is why women are encouraged to get routine screenings.
Dr. Audrey Gutierrez, a Family Physician at South Texas Health System (STHS), said it is important for women to understand their bodies in order to detect changes like lumps or pain.
By knowing how to detect those signs, Dr. Gutierrez said you are helping yourself avoid bigger problems.
“We want to pick up cancer as early as possible. The reason being that we want to prevent spread. We don’t want it to get into your lymph nodes, and we don’t want it to move in other organs in the body because that process is a lot different,” she said.
According to Dr. Gutierrez, the sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the more options there are when it comes to treatment.
South Texas Health System Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Tom Castañeda, said breast cancer awareness is an important topic for him because his mother went through that experience.
“I think everybody has been impacted by breast cancer in one way or another, whether you are a survivor or you know someone that has had breast cancer, or lost someone to breast cancer,” he said.
Castañeda said his mom’s journey gave him a perspective of what other families go through, which is why hosting events, like the Think Pink Parade, are important to help bring the community together.
Castañeda said all community members are encouraged to participate with their vehicles at STHS in McAllen from 8 a.m. to noon. He said there will be pink decorations for those who want to do last-minute decorating.
All decorated cars will have the opportunity to enter a contest based on creativity.
In addition to the contest, Castañeda said there will be information available in regards to annual checkups and mammograms.
“We want to make sure that all women in our community know the importance of early detection of getting mammograms and really taking their health seriously,” he said.