Every year, cancer claims the lives of more than a quarter of a million women in America. Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer and the second most common cause of cancer deaths in American women.
As the leaves turn color and we approach fall, I like to take this opportunity to remind women that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to highlight the warning signs of breast cancer. The warning signs that should alert a woman to visit with their primary care provider include:
- Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area;
- Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast;
- Change in size or shape of breast;
- Dimpling or puckering of skin;
- Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple;
- Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of breast;
- Nipple discharge that starts suddenly;
- New pain in one spot that does not go away;
About one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, with 85 percent of breast cancer occurring in women with no family history of breast cancer. Because family history is not a reliable indicator, the American Cancer Society recommends that annual mammograms should begin at the age of 40 and continue for as long as a woman is in good health. Mammograms are the best way to find cancer early, even before it can be felt and when it is easier to treat. Some women, because of their family history, genetic tendency or other factors, should talk to their provider about the need for additional tests at an earlier age.
Cancer is a scary word and sadly the fear surrounding cancer can keep people from scheduling a life-saving appointment. Research shows that by visiting your medical provider and scheduling a cancer screening test you could greatly improve your odds of survival. Screening tests can detect certain cancers early, when they are the most likely to be curable. Knowing the benefits, it’s alarming that less than 51% of women ages 40 and older reported having a mammogram in the last year. And, recent studies suggest that women are getting their first mammogram later than recommended, not having them at recommended intervals or not receiving appropriate and timely follow-up of positive screening results.
At Tri-County Health Care, we value mammograms and want to make them a little less intimidating for women. In October, we are hosting six Mammogram Parties, each designed to help minimize fear and anxiety for women.
Women age 40 and older are invited to a Mammogram Party and are welcome to bring their friends, co-workers, family and of course “the girls” for a festive and party-life environment. While at the party women will enjoy massages, margaritas, munchies, and of course, receive their mammogram. There will also be neck and shoulder massages; bra fittings; hand massages/reflexology and representatives from Mary Kay and Healthy Living Oils. Each party can accommodate up to 12 people and the Tri-County Caring Heart Boutique Gift Shop will stay open later to allow the women some time to shop if they choose.
The parties will be held Thursday evenings in October (1, 8, 22) from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday morning, October 10, from 9 a.m. – noon.
Registering for a Mammogram Party is as simple as calling 218-631-7466. Call soon as space is limited to 12 women per party.
Cancer screenings can be very scary. We hope these mammogram parties minimize anxiety and encourage women to get their screening in a safe and fun environment.