By Antoinette Silcott, Senior Radiographer/Sonographer
Although women who are over the age of 40 as well as those who are classified as high risked are being vigorously encouraged to perform self and clinical breast examinations, an annual mammogram is also recommended.
Mammography is a non-invasive and inexpensive low-dose imaging modality which is used to image breast tissue by using external compression. It is considered to be the gold standard imaging tool for the early detection of breast tumors and cancer. Many countries worldwide, due to their advanced diagnostic capabilities and easy access to mammography service are able to participate in this widely recommended screening initiative.
However, unfortunately in Montserrat there is no direct access to a mammography unit, hence patients are referred overseas to get these examinations done.
While this is viewed as some access, the process is usually delayed due to unavailability of the service on the island and insufficient available appointments in other countries, thus limiting the ability of any chance for early detection. However, the availability of mammography services on Montserrat will provide many benefits.
These benefits include but not limited to: compliance to a routine mammogram examination, quick access to the service to allow early detection and improved outcome, overall cost reduction of examinations and associated expense and economic benefits such as medical tourism.
Therefore, with these benefits the question that must be asked is- “Is it still justifiable to allow our women to suffer and be snatched away by this dreaded disease as a result of non-compliance due to limited access to such an essential diagnostic imaging service on our Island”?