The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

January 16, 2013

Susan G. Komen for the Cure grant provides free mammograms

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 — The Stanly County Health Department will offer free mammograms through March funded by a Susan G. Komen for the Cure grant.  

“One of the goals of the Stanly County Health Department and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure is to provide women access to mammograms. We are providing free mammograms to eligible women who are enrolled in one of our clinical programs,” said Darlene Little, Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP) coordinator.  

“These funds have provided 64 women free mammograms as well as follow-up screenings where indicated. There is still limited funding available to provide women mammograms.”

Regular screening can detect breast cancer early. Screenings include a clinical exam and a mammogram. A clinical exam involves a health care provider checking for breast lumps. This is usually done during the annual physical. The best way to find a breast lump early is a mammogram, an x-ray of a breast. A mammogram can detect a breast lump before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.

Regular screening is only one part of breast health care. It is, also, important for women to be aware of what is normal for them. It is important to note that breasts change as one gets older and at various times through menstrual cycles. If a lump is detected or there is a change in one’s breasts, call your health care provider. It is important to know that not all breast lumps are cancerous, but screening is needed to make that determination.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), risk factors for breast cancer include:

Being younger when you first had your menstrual period.

Starting menopause at a later age.

Being older at the birth of your first child.

Never giving birth.

Not breastfeeding.

Long-term use of hormone-replacement therapy.

Getting older.

Personal history of breast cancer or some non-cancerous breast diseases.

Family history of breast cancer (mother, sister, daughter).

Treatment with radiation therapy to the breast/chest.

Being overweight (increases risk for breast cancer after menopause).

Having changes in the breast cancer-related genes BRAC1 or BRAC2.

Drinking alcohol (more than one drink a day).

Not getting regular exercise. (cdc.gov).

It is important to note that most women have some risk factors and do not get breast cancer. That is why it is important for women to be aware of what is normal for them.    

What can be done to lower the risk of breast cancer? All women should know their families’ history of breast cancer. Some women are tested to determine if they have the breast cancer-related genes, BRAC1 or BRAC2. Controlling one’s weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise decreases the risk of breast cancer.  Drinking more than one alcoholic beverage a day may increase the risk of breast cancer. Before utilizing hormone replacement therapy, find out the risks and benefits.

To be eligible for free mammograms, a woman must be enrolled in the Stanly County Health Department Adult Health, Family Planning, Maternal Health or Breast and Cervical Cancer Control programs.  

For more information, call Darlene Little at (704) 986-3045.

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