Self Care

…More Than Just Words


June 2021 Issue
By Dr. Rochelle Ringer

I’m too busy. I’m scared. It hurts. I’ll get to it soon.

1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed
with breast cancer in her lifetime.

These are the number of excuses we tell ourselves about getting mammograms. During the past year of craziness, it’s been challenging to take care of ourselves. There have been so many things going on, from the stress of working at home, to the loss of jobs, to homeschooling, most women have just focused on surviving the past year. As we are making our way to the halfway mark of 2021, I’m hopeful that we’re moving beyond Covid and ready to start taking care of ourselves again, which includes being kind to ourselves, both mentally and physically, allowing some treats, and yes, taking care of our medical health.

64% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at a localized stage
(there is no sign that the cancer has spread outside the breast),
for which the 5-year survival rate is 99%.

Women tend to pride themselves on taking care of others, being the caretakers of the household, but often put their own care last. I am a strong believer that if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. As a breast surgeon, unfortunately, I see women every day who are currently battling cancer, or have in the past. It can be scary. Luckily, we know that getting a mammogram can literally save your life. It can also mean less treatment if a cancer is found and caught early.

On average, every 2 minutes a woman in diagnosed
with breast cancer in the US.

I am also a strong believer in where you get your mammogram matters. The radiologist who reads your mammogram makes a difference. There are radiologists who have fellowship training in looking at mammograms. It’s like having a specialist instead of a general doctor. Ask about the radiologist credentials. Training and experience matters.

There are 3.5 million breast cancer survivors
in the United States.

Have you put off your mammogram over the past year? If so, it’s time for some self-care and to schedule your mammogram. No one will say it’s fun, but it’s pretty quick and could make all the difference. Take the time and schedule your mammogram today. It could be the call that saves your life!

Death rates from breast cancer have been falling since about 1990,
in part due to better screening and early detection!

Rochelle "Shelly" Ringer, MD is a board-certified and fellowship-trained breast surgeon in the Lowcountry dedicated to caring for patients with breast disease. Dr. Ringer earned her medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine and completed a residency in general surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital, in Cincinnati, OH. She went on to complete a breast surgical oncology fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Ringer is also an Associate Clinical Professor of Surgical Oncology at the Medical University of South Carolina and a member of the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center Comprehensive Breast Care Team. She is a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons.

Breast Cancer Facts Source: National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.,

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