October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and doctors at NYU Langone Hospital – Brooklyn are marking the occasion by urging women to get annual mammograms, screenings that most medical experts say are an excellent tool to detect cancer in its early stages.
“Self-examination and an annual mammogram can save many lives,” said Dr. Janet Yeh, a breast surgeon at NYU.
As an example of the importance of annual mammograms, officials at NYU Langone Hospital – Brooklyn pointed to a kindergarten teacher who recently underwent treatment for breast cancer.
Keri Gioia, who lives on Staten Island and teaches at a Brooklyn school, has survived two bouts with breast cancer, in 2012 and in 2017. In both cases, the cancer was detected early in a mammogram, according to NYU.
As a result of the 2017 diagnosis, Gioia underwent a mastectomy with a two-stage breast reconstruction procedure that was performed at NYU Langone Hospital – Brooklyn by Dr. Alyssa Golas, a plastic surgeon.
“Dr. Yeh and Dr. Golas are an incredible team and I am very pleased with the result,” Gioia said in a statement released by the hospital. “The care I received from them was simply the best and it’s convenient that they work together and can see patients at one site. They are terrific doctors!”
The hospital is located at 150 55th St. in Sunset Park. NYU Langone also runs an ambulatory health care center at 6740 Fourth Ave. in Bay Ridge, where Yeh and Golas see patients.
Gioia, who had no symptoms and no family history of breast cancer, got a routine mammogram in 2012. A suspicious area was spotted on her mammogram that was later confirmed to be breast cancer. The tumor was at an early stage. Gioia decided to have a lumpectomy and followed up with radiation treatment.
She remained vigilant about her annual mammogram, doctors said.
In late 2017, Gioia went for a mammogram and told the mammography technician about a lump she had recently felt in her other breast. Her mammogram and a subsequent biopsy of the suspicious area confirmed that it was breast cancer.
“Some cancers grow slowly but some can be aggressive and reach an advanced stage more quickly. In Keri’s case, her tumors were found and treated early when the chance for a good outcome or a cure is much greater,” Yeh said.
The American Cancer Society currently recommends annual mammograms for women ages 45 and older.