The key to stopping this killer? Early detection. “Finding breast cancer early reduces your risk of dying from the disease by 25-30 percent or more,” said Tracy Patrick, imaging coordinator at Dixie Regional. “Regardless of your family history, getting a yearly screening mammogram can save your life.”
Women whose breast cancer is diagnosed and treated while still in the early stages (stage 0 or stage 1) have well over a 90 percent survival rate, and can often keep their breasts. The same is not true of cancers detected in later stages, especially if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women have yearly mammograms starting at age 40. Clinical breast exams (usually performed in a doctor’s office during a routine checkup) are recommended at least every three years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and older. Monthly breast self-exam is also encouraged for women starting in their 20s. If you have had a family history of breast cancer, consult your doctor for recommended screenings. Intermountain Mammography offers mammogram parties at the River Road Clinic, for interested church or civic groups. Contact Tracy Patrick for more information at (435) 688-6418.
If you are uninsured or unable to bear the cost of a mammogram and meet the following qualifying criteria, you can receive a free mammogram at Intermountain Healthcare locally because of generous funding donated through the Foundation at Dixie Regional. To qualify for a free mammogram a woman should be age 40 or older, uninsured or unable to bear the cost of a mammogram, and not currently enrolled in a federal- or state-funded program (Medicaid or Medicare).
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and several activities are scheduled in southern Utah to remind women and their families of the importance of mammograms and breast exams. The Lion’s Club kicked things off with their “tough enough to wear pink” pink rodeo in September. Other events include:
• Wear Pink Friday’s. All southern Utahns are encouraged to wear pink on Fridays in October.
• The Save a Sister run, hosted by the City of St. George is scheduled for Oct. 26 at 9 a.m. at the Dixie Convention Center (for information visit www.sgcityrec.org).
• Pick up free information and/or have a mammogram at What Women Want expo at the Dixie Center from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 25 and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 26.
• On Nov. 2, cancer services at Dixie Regional will host a special showing of the documentary, Awaken the Dragon at10 a.m. in the Dunford Auditorium at Dixie State University, 225 S. 700 East St. George, Utah. For more information call Deb at (435) 688-5092.