ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – In America, there are 275,000 breast cancer diagnoses each year and 42,000 women die annually of stage four breast cancer according to a local radiologist.

18 News spoke to a local Radiologist and Section Chief at Guthrie Breast Imaging, Dr. Geneva Ballard to talk about the importance of breast cancer awareness.

“It is nice that there is more attention brought to breast cancer during the month of October,” said Ballard. “Being aware of what the changing recommendations are, and especially being aware of your own risk with regard to family histories, very important.”

Doctor Ballard said Guthrie advises patients to be aware of their normal breast tissue but emphasizes the importance of mammograms.

“They are going to be in a position to identify a change, a new lump or an area of thickening or a nipple discharge changes to the contour of the breast,” said Ballard. “But in the ideal scenario, we catch breast cancers before you can feel it. Breast cancer detected manner graphically is almost always, not something the patient can feel.”

To schedule a mammogram at Guthrie you can click this link here or call (866) 488 – 4743.

Guthrie ensures the safety of going in for a mammogram saying in a statement:

We’re still encouraging people to come in for their mammograms and our facilities are safe to visit despite COVID due to increases in cleaning protocols, masking, and the separation of patients with respiratory illness.


The doctor also gives advice on when to start annual screenings.

“For those averages risk patients, I’d recommend starting annual mammography at age 40,” said Ballard. “So no, very strong family histories no first-degree relatives with young breast cancer diagnoses. For patients who do have family histories of breast cancer, we want to start talking to those patients earlier. So we recommend starting screening at 30.”

She advises women to put their health first especially during the month of October and to stay informed on breast cancer.

“Women often put their own health second, to that of their families or to other folks that they’re taking care of, and it’s a nice reminder to take care of ourselves and to really put our breast health at the forefront,” said Ballard.


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