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Time to put yourself first and stop putting your healthcare on hold

  • Category: Blog
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  • Written By: Douglas Chiriboga, MD
Time to put yourself first and stop putting your healthcare on hold

While Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PVHMC) and our Pomona Valley Health Centers have taken extra steps to keep our patients, Associates and Physicians safe during the pandemic this past year, we understand if you may have deferred care out of an abundance of caution. We urge you to stop putting your healthcare on hold and get your cancer screenings and wellness exams back on schedule.

Nationwide, mammograms and colonoscopies declined by as much as 90 percent in 2020. Because of deferred screenings, there are concerns that we could see a rise in late detection cancers. Early detection saves lives.

Today is the day to make those important appointments you might have delayed.

PVHMC recommends starting annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40. Several studies have shown that the latest advancement, digital breast Tomosynthesis (3D mammography), improves cancer detection rate by 40 percent or more, and decreases recall rates by 30 percent or more compared with conventional mammography.

While many breast care centers only offer 3D mammography to women with dense breast tissue, PVHMC offers digital 3D mammography to all patients. And PVHMC also offers the SmartCurve™ breast stabilization system, which is clinically proven to deliver a more comfortable mammogram without compromising image quality. This innovation is part of PVHMC's ongoing commitment to superior breast cancer detection and to increase compliance for the countless women who have reported avoiding regular mammograms due in large part to the fear of discomfort associated with breast compression.

PVHMC offers a $100 cash mammogram, no doctor's orders required. To schedule your 3D mammography appointment, call PVHMC's Breast Health Center at 909.469.9395.

The American Cancer Society now recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screenings at age 45. This can be done either with a sensitive test that looks for signs of cancer in a person's stool (stool-based test), or with an exam that looks at the colon and rectum (colonoscopy).

Those who are in good health and with a life expectancy of more than 10 years should continue regular colorectal cancer screening through the age of 75. For people ages 76 through 85, the decision to be screened should be based on a person's preferences, life expectancy, overall health, and prior screening history. People over 85 should no longer get a colorectal cancer screening.

If you are due for a colonoscopy, contact your doctor to schedule one at our state-of-the-art GI Lab. Need help choosing a PVHMC doctor? Call our Physician Referral Service at 909.865.9858.

Recently, the United States Preventive Services Task Force updated its recommendations for annual screening for lung cancer with lung CT scans in adults ages 50 to 80 years who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Talk to your doctor to find out if you should schedule a lung cancer screening at one of our four convenient imaging centers in Pomona, Claremont, La Verne or Chino Hills.

Some patients who receive COVID-19 vaccinations may temporarily develop benign swollen lymph nodes, which can show up on mammograms and other imaging tests. PVHMC recommends getting imaging exams prior to being vaccinated or waiting several weeks following vaccination for imaging appointments.

The past year has been challenging for many - impacting both physical and mental health. Take a moment to schedule your annual check-up with your primary care physician or gynecologist and talk to your doctor about how you're feeling. Be sure to get your annual lab work done as well. The key to long-term good health is partnering with your doctor on preventative care.

Your health and well-being are important to us, so schedule those appointments you've put off - you'll be glad you did. And thank you for putting your trust in PVHMC for all your healthcare needs.

Douglas Chiriboga, MD, practices family medicine at the Pomona Valley Health Center in Pomona and currently serves as President of the Medical Staff at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center.