EMPORIA, VA - According to the National Cancer Institute, the five year survival rate of breast cancer patients is 98% when detected early, and in the localized stage. The best method of detecting breast cancer in these earliest stages - Mammography. Although there has been some controversy surrounding the use of mammography in recent years, it remains the best method for detecting breast cancer in its earliest stages, and before it is large enough to feel through clinical or self-breast exams.
The importance of making people aware of breast cancer and breast cancer screening through mammography, is in the statistics. It is estimated that 1 out of every 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Although much less common, in men, approximately 2000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. The good news, death rates attributed to breast cancer has been on a steady decline since 1991. This decline is thought to be in response to increased breast cancer awareness, early detections through mammography screening, and advances in the treatment of breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that all women begin getting yearly mammograms and clinical breast exams at age 40 (earlier if the woman is considered at high risk of developing breast cancer). ACS also recommends that women between the ages of 20 and 39 have clinical breast exams every 2 – 3 years, and all women over the age of 20 are encouraged to perform monthly self breast examinations.
National Mammography Day was designated as the third Friday in October by President Bill Clinton as a one day recognition during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month for encouraging women to schedule an annual mammogram. In recognition of National Mammography Day and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) had a “Go Pink & Denim Day” to promote breast health awareness on Friday, October 17th. For a $5.00 donation, participating employees were allowed to show their support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and wear their favorite jeans to work. Other staff not participating in the Denim Day also wore pink to raise awareness of the importance of mammography, and made donations to support this worthy cause. An additional donation was made by the SVRMC Cardiac Rehab Nurse who contributed $5.00 on behalf of each of her patients who participated in the Go Pink fun. Through these efforts, SVRMC staff raised a total of $400.00 that they donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.
For more information on breast cancer or the benefits of mammography, contact your primary care provider or Betty Lou Robinson, SVRMC Mammography Technologist, at 434-348-4836.