Why Mammograms Are So Important
- Beloved Fox5 reporter Ayesha Khan continues to use her own battle with breast cancer to inspire others, this time urging her viewers to get mammograms.
- During the mammogram screening, the doctor is looking for lumps in the breast tissue or early signs of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends women begin screening for breast cancer at 45, and if this new bill is passed any woman over 40 could get at least one free mammogram a year.
- Khan has been regularly sharing her breast cancer journey with Fox 5’s viewers, including the toll that undergoing chemotherapy took on her hair.
The Fox 5 reporter said undergoing a mammogram likely saved her life in an essay published on the channel’s website.Read More
“I felt like time had just stopped while I recovered from a single mastectomy to remove the cancerous tumor. Then came 16 grueling rounds of chemo, then radiation and now a ten-year regimen of a twice a day pill to reduce the chances of the cancer returning. But the truth is, going forward, it will take more than just daily medication.”
Now, Khan, 40, says she will be going back yearly for mammograms and wants her viewers to also be vigilant, saying doctors told her they saw a dropoff in patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Washington-based reporter has been sharing her journey with viewers in a series of special reports, including offering insights into how she’s stayed strong during her ordeal. One thing she’s turned to is exercise.
“That includes working out and doing yoga on the days I feel I have enough energy – post-chemotherapy treatment,” she said. “The fact that I have kept myself active as best as possible, has played a part in my own recovery and in my body responding the way it did to harsh treatments.”
Khan, who worked at TV stations in Charleston, South Carolina, St. Louis, Missouri and Salisbury, Maryland before landing in Washington DC, also speaks to the importance of taking time to directly address the psychological impacts of going through cancer treatment. “My team of doctors introduced me to the Bill Richards Center for Healing located within the Aquilino Cancer Center in Montgomery County, where I am currently being treated,” she said. “The entire third floor is a purpose-built space designed to help patients and their families cope with the psychological effects of cancer, even as the patient follows state-of-the-art clinical treatment protocols.”
Why Mammograms Are An Important Screening Tool
Breast cancer is typically detected via a mammogram. During the mammogram screening, the doctor is looking for lumps in the breast tissue or early signs of breast cancer. Most women should begin screening for breast cancer at 45.
When You’re Getting A Mammogram, Ask About Dense Breasts
Dr. Connie Lehman, the chief of Breast Imaging Division at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a previous interview, “If you haven’t gone through menopause yet, I think it’s very important that you have a mammogram every year. We know that cancers grow more rapidly in our younger patients, and having that annual mammogram can be lifesaving.”
“After menopause, it may be perfectly acceptable to reduce that frequency to every two years,” says Dr. Lehman. “But what I’m most concerned about is the women who haven’t been in for a mammogram for two, three, or four years, those women that have never had a mammogram. We all agree regular screening mammography saves lives. I want to be completely clear. If you are between 50 and 74 and you have not had a mammogram in the last two years, you are overdue. Please get a mammogram.”
When Should I Get Tested?
Ayesha Khan’s Public Cancer Journey
Khan has been regularly sharing her breast cancer journey with Fox 5’s viewers, including the toll that undergoing chemotherapy took on her hair.
“I documented the first time I saw my hair coming out in clumps back in January,” Khan recently told Fox 5. “At that moment, it felt like a complete out-of-body experience, and I was convinced, my hair will never be the same again.”
While Khan used a cooling cap to help reduce the damage, it wasn’t 100 per cent succesful.
“When cooled, the blood vessels in the scalp constrict, reducing blood flow to the hair follicles,” she explained. “That means less chemotherapy medication can get into the hair follicle cells. The cold also makes those cells less active, so chemotherapy drugs don’t target them as quickly. “I believe the invention worked to preserve some of my hair, but most of that is just dead, cooked hair.”