SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Dr. Yana Puckett is the newest surgical oncologist at Telfair Breast Surgery. Investing in women is her mission.

“I’m able to connect with women, and I really want to help them in any way I can, guide them through this journey because it can be overwhelming and confusing,” Puckett said.

She has been on board for two months, she brings with her a wealth of training and knowledge about the increased risk of breast cancer in older aged women.

Tina: Are we seeing more older women being diagnosed?

Puckett: “Yes, there’s been a trend over the last 25 years of increased diagnosis. That’s because of our screening practices with mammography.”

“The earlier you catch breast cancer the better. So we’re catching them at an earlier stage than in the past.”  

Puckett credits individualized treatment plans with improving the odds of recovery for older women.

“Nowadays breast cancer doesn’t mean you have to have a mastectomy,” Puckett said. “If you have breast cancer as an older woman, it actually is a less aggressive cancer compared to a younger woman and the outcomes are much better.”

According to The National Cancer Institute, women 70 and older have a 1 in 24 chance of developing cancer in their lifetime.  

Puckett explains what this age group should know about being diagnosed and the hope of living longer.

“Older women should get their screening just the way that they have been as younger women,” Puckett said.

The treatment options might be a little different for older women. It’s actually a trend toward de-escalation of treatment for older women, meaning less surgery and sometimes less radiation.

“Most likely she will die of other causes just because of the number of therapies we have these days,” Puckett said.