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Did you miss your last mammogram?

October 12, 2021 | Women’s Health | Healthy You

Mammogram appointment noted in personal calendar

Experts say, don’t delay. Schedule your mammogram soon.

Does screening for breast cancer really work?

Yes. Mammograms save lives, as proven by decades of research. And getting them regularly can catch signs of breast cancer early, when it's most treatable.

“Delays in screening leads to the diagnosis of breast cancer at a later stage,” says Sandra Smith, MD, a breast cancer surgeon with PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington.

A delay in diagnosis can lead to cancer that's more complicated or serious to treat.

No time like the present

If you missed your last mammogram, schedule an exam soon. When you reach out to your doctor's office, keep the following in mind:

  • Plan for your mammogram to occur the week after a menstrual period. This will make the exam a little less uncomfortable since breasts can feel more tender the week before or during menstruation.
  • Your mammogram appointment should take only 30 minutes from start to finish. It’s a worthwhile investment of your time to check the health of your breasts.

“We strongly encourage you to take breast health screening seriously,” says Dr. Smith, “Get your mammogram. It does save lives and improve overall outcomes.”

portrait of Sandra L. Smith MD

Sandra L. Smith MD

General Surgery
Dr. Sandra Smith provides surgical treatment for benign and malignant breast diseases. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Michigan University with double majors in Chemistry and English. She earned her medical degree from the University of Missouri - Columbia. Dr. Smith is Board Certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Smith was inspired at an early age to pursue a career in medicine. "When I was 12 years old, I read a story about Albert Schweitzer and his work in Africa. It was inspiring and I decided that I wanted to be a doctor. I chose General Surgery and Breast Surgery because I loved being able to make a diagnosis and then intervene in a way that helps people return to good health.” "Ethical conduct, integrity, and compassion are my guiding principles. I strive to provide service excellence and see each patient as an individual and as a whole person. I work at understanding each person’s particular circumstance, then diligently pursue a complete understanding of their health concerns to provide best-practice guidance to medical decision-making and surgical care. A good provider-patient relationship is necessary to achieving good health care outcomes and requires honest communication and active listening." Her desire to help others has taken Dr. Smith on surgical mission trips to Migori, Kenya, and to Puerto Penasco, Mexico. Away from work Dr. Smith enjoys hiking, biking, camping, motorcycling, kayaking, swimming, music, theater and reading, and writes poetry, essays, memoir, and short fiction as time allows.