October: Breast cancer awareness month
This year in America a new breast cancer will be diagnosed every three minutes.
According to the Breast Cancer Network, this year an estimated 175,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 43,000 will die from it.
Health officials say success for early detection has to do with education and training on how to do thorough monthly breast self-exams, completing yearly clinical breast exams and scheduling routine mammograms.
And because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, local health care providers are trying to send the message throughout the community.
“One of the biggest goals is to get women 40 years old and up baseline mammograms so we can check the changes,” said Rose Wolterbeek of Tahoe Forest Hospital Health Promotions and program coordinator of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
A breast health exhibit, appointments for a special breast health package including a mammogram, clinical breast exam and self breast exam training, a bone density screen and lipid panel are part of a breast health package offered at Tahoe Forest Hospital this week and Incline Village Health Center next week.
Both health centers are also offering “goodie bags” to all women which include breast self-exam reminder stickers, and a pocket calendar with wellness tips.
The breast health package is available to women who need a screening mammogram only – those not due for their mammogram in October can pick up a health package coupon from either center that will be valid for one year in order to keep women on their annual screening schedule.
The most important piece of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is raising awareness in the community, said Wolterbeek.
“The goal is self-awareness, education and to get women into a regular schedule,” she said. “It’s really the early detection that saves lives, and you have a higher survival rate if you develop it when you’re younger.”
The breast cancer awareness program usually draws about 100 women in both Truckee and Incline Village, Wolterbeek said.
“Programs like this do bring more awareness of the importance of early detection and self-breast exams,” Wolterbeek said. “The package we offer is a real good comprehensive awareness package.”
Some women travel from as far as Sierraville and Loyalton to participate in the annual event.
“They make the annual trek over here,” said Wolterbeek. “Even in the small town of Truckee and in the Tahoe area, we still have incidents. Breast cancer affects all walks of life.”
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