Adventist’s AHEAD Program screens for cancer and saves lives

Taking care of your health in the present is crucial, but what about taking care of your health in the future? Adventist Health Castle is doing just that with its AHEAD cancer screening program. It offers this program to all people who get their annual mammogram at Castle.

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When someone comes in for their appointment, she is asked a series of questions to determine her potential risk for cancer. If she is determined to be at high risk, she may speak with a genetics counselor and choose to take a swab test for gene mutations that can cause breast, uterine, and colon cancers. This test is sent off on the same day and the results are mailed to the patient’s home in 4-6 weeks.

“The AHEAD program is extremely important because there is a certain percentage of cancers that are genetically inherited,” said Dr. Jacqueline Lee, an AHEAD physician at Castle. “If we are able to find that you have a gene mutation, we are able to do a lot to either prevent you from getting the cancer at all, or we can follow you very closely throughout your life to make sure that if you do get the cancer, we catch it early on.”

The earlier cancer is detected, the higher the likelihood of survival and remission is. Early detection also allows for a larger pool of treatment options to treat the cancer.

Those who are due for their annual mammogram can contact the Castle mammography department to set up an appointment at 808-263-5166.

“The AHEAD program is offered to every woman who comes in to get her mammogram,” said Dr. Lee. “Eventually, this program will be rolled out through primary care clinics in the windward community, and also specialty care clinics.”

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