By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
Every year 46,000 women die from breast cancer, but early detection could mean the difference between life and death.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and The Memorial Hospital wants to help promote prevention with early detection.
"What we're trying to do is promote prevention by offering mammograms at reduced rates," said Pam Thompson, public relations director at TMH. "Early detection is the best form of prevention."
The American Cancer Society recommends that women have an annual mammography after they turn 40.
"We're encouraging everyone over 40 to come in and have a mammogram," Thompson said.
Pink ribbons will be hung at different locations in the hospital to promote breast cancer awareness this month.
Thompson said awareness involves a woman giving herself exams, having an annual mammogram and having an annual physical.
Marilyn Bouldin, director of community care at the Visiting Nurse Association, repeated the phrase "the best protection is early detection."
"There is no way to prevent it, but you can stay vigilant by getting exams," she said.
Bouldin was diagnosed with breast cancer nine years ago, but has since gone through numerous treatments including chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant.
"Currently I'm in remission which is good news," she said.
But she still takes time to help those who suffer or have suffered from breast cancer.
She runs a cancer support group that meets on the third Thursday of every month at TMH.
"It's not only for those who have cancer but for family members also," she said. "We share information and support each other about what we have been through."
Communication is the key, she said.
"There's been a couple of studies that have shown that people who get support live longer," she said.
The VNA also provides free mammograms for women who earn a low income and are over the age of 50, she said.
"All they need to do is call the VNA and we'll get them an appointment," she said.
Bouldin listed several increased risk factors to look for in early detection of breast cancer. But, most women who get breast cancer do not fit into any of the risk factor categories, she said.
Factors that increase the chance of breast cancer include:
Family history of breast
First pregnancy did not
occur until after the age of 30
Never had children
Early menstrual periods
or late menopause