Breast Cancer and Depression Awareness Screening

Submitted by Matthew Rosales, RN MSN and Tanya Weber, RN

October is Breast Cancer Awareness and Depression Awareness Month, two vital screenings that we want to focus on. Let’s take a look at each:

Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point. The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Make a difference! Spread the word about mammograms and encourage family and friends to get involved.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends annual mammograms for women with an average risk of breast cancer  starting at age 40 (and younger if patient chooses to), and that all women should undergo regular mammogram screenings starting at age 45 and can change to having mammograms every other year beginning at age 55. However, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends a screening done every two years for women ages 50-74. If there are any risk factors such as personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer, or if the patient prefers, they can be screened earlier and more frequently. They are also part of an annual “Well Woman” checkup, which you may receive in one our three healthcare clinics. If you should be receiving a mammogram or checkup but do not have insurance or funding to pay for it, please contact the Diagnostic Imaging manager about your options for financial assistance. Early detection is the key to beating breast cancer!

Summit Pacific works with the Washington Breast & Cervical Health Program to help uninsured and low-income women receive their annual examinations. We now offer both 3D Mammography-Tomosynthesis and Digital Mammography. Our enrollment specialist is available at 360-346-2269 to assist patients who do not have insurance.

Want to learn more?

Visit the American Cancer Society website or the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force website.


Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults. While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32 and more women than men are affected. As many as one in 33 children and one in eight adolescents have clinical depression that needs to be addressed. Further, approximately 6 million people are affected by depression later in life, but only 10 percent receive treatment.

We can see from these statistics just how incredibly important it is that we are proactive and consistent in screenings our patients!

People with depression are at greater risk of having a heart attack, and people with other medical conditions such as cancer, strokes, eating disorders, and substance abuse are at much greater risk of having depression. Postpartum women are at risk of having “the blues” to experiencing severe, incapacitating, psychotic depression. Further, two-thirds of reported suicides are due to depression and untreated depression is the NUMBER 1 risk factor for suicide among the young.

Finally, some good news! Up to 80 percent of those treated for depression show an improvement in their symptoms generally within four to six weeks of beginning medication, psychotherapy, attending support groups or a combination of these treatments.

The bottom line is that we as care providers need to be vigilant and seek information to give our patients an avenue of communication and hope.



Leave a Reply