Think pink for October

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By The Staff

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This year, more than 182,000 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women, following only lung cancer. While the disease affects primarily women, approximately 1,700 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year as well.

There are many cancer risk factors a woman can control in life such as: smoking, being overweight, unhealthy diet, heavy alcohol use and prolonged exposure to estrogen for women are just a few. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women of any age, but is more likely to occur after the age of forty. Any unusual swelling or a lump under the arm may be a warning sign and should not be overlooked.

All women of any age need to develop a personal action plan to protect their breast health. These three steps are vital: self-examination, clinical examination and annual mammograms. Some guidelines for women ages 20-39 should include a monthly self-examination, to find any lumps or changes, and a clinical breast exam by a physician at least every three years. Your doctor, nurse or local health department personnel can demonstrate how to correctly do a breast self-exam. By age forty, in addition to monthly self-exams and an annual clinical exam, women are encouraged to get an annual mammogram. A mammogram is simply a low-dose x-ray of the breast. Mammograms typically can detect cancers up to two years before they are large enough to be felt.

Remember, the best defense against breast cancer - is early detection. And, the greatest chance for successful treatment occurs when the cancer is found in its earliest stages. Because of increased awareness and earlier detection, the good news is that breast cancer death rates continue to decline.

The Kentucky Women’s Cancer Screening Program may be able to assist women who meet income guidelines and are not receiving regular mammograms. If you detect a lump or change in your breasts, do not panic—eight out of ten lumps are not cancerous, but all should be reported and investigated by a physician.

For a limited time, each woman who qualifies and completes her screening will receive a $25.00 gas card from the Washington County Health Center while supplies last. To schedule an appointment for a screening, or for more information about breast and cervical cancer, contact the Washington County Health Center at (859) 336-3989.

On October 16th, the Washington County: Cancer Coalition, Health Center, Extension Office, Prevention Center & Housing Authority, along with special guests from the Kentucky Cancer Program and Spring View Hospital, combined to host a Breast Cancer Awareness Program for forty-one residents of the Springfield Housing Community. Educational materials, demonstrations, speakers, food, games and lots of prizes were the order of business for the day. Special appreciation goes to: Laura Peek, Kathy Ferriell & Suzanne Gude for their wonderful presentations and personal contributions to this very successful event!