When Kathy Yost found a lump in her breast during a self-exam, she immediately made an appointment to have a diagnostic mammogram.
The mammogram revealed nothing, she said.
But cancer was finally confirmed after an ultrasound and biopsy, said Yost.
The radiologists told her that the mammograms do not pick up cancer 20 to 25 percent of the time, said Yost, who is 60 and lives in Springettsbury Township.
"I said that is unacceptable," said Yost. "But that's the best technology they have right now."
Women need to understand that technology can only do so much, which makes self-examinations all the more important, said Yost.
"Mammograms are still valuable, but you've got to check yourself," she said.
"You've got to take charge," Yost said. "You've got to do the self breast exam and it's so easy to do."
Yost will begin treatment at the end of October.
"I'm a lucky one that I have support and I have many, many friends and a family who care," she said.
In York County, there is a rate of breast cancer surgery of 21.9 per 10,000 female residents, according to a new report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) that examines the frequency of various treatment procedures.
York ranks 26th out of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania for the highest rate of breast cancer surgery.
Rates for York County for previous years were not available.
By the numbers: The data showed that the number of women in Pennsylvania who had surgery for breast cancer remained constant from 2002 to 2011.
In 2002, there were 11,074 women who received surgical treatment for breast cancer in hospitals in Pennsylvania compared to 10,977 in 2011.
"What is happening for breast cancer care in Pennsylvania is on par with what is going on throughout the country," said Dr. Ron Hempling, vice president of oncology services at WellSpan.
More patients are being screened and diagnosed, Hempling said. In proportion to that, the number of people who are dying from breast cancer appears to be going down, he added.
About 70 percent of women are being appropriately screened for breast cancer, and that number continues to increase, Hempling said.
"It's really a very good test, but it is not a perfect test," Hempling said. "Hence there are people who will have cancer go undetected."
Nearly five times as many women in the state opted for preventive surgery before a diagnosis of breast cancer in 2011 compared to 2002. The number rose from 94 women in 2002 to 455 in 2011, the report revealed.
"I would call it risk reduction surgery instead of preventive," said Hempling.
There is a small group of women who are at high enough risk for breast cancer that they can reduce that risk by having a mastectomy, Hempling said.
Concerns: Yost said she worries about the health of her three daughters and two granddaughters, because breast cancer runs in their family.
In 2010, Yost's sister, Emily Jackson, 58, of Fawn Grove, was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.
Jackson is doing well since having her bilateral mastectomy in 2010.
"She did not want to do this more than one time," Yost said. "I did not choose that route. I was fortunate enough to have a partial mastectomy, or a lumpectomy as most people call it."
Yost says her sister has been her "guardian angel" throughout her breast cancer journey, providing advice and support.
The PHC4 report was released in October in conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or firstname.lastname@example.org