As Breast Cancer Awareness month winds down, knowing the facts makes for better survival chances. Although it is impossible to know for sure who will become its victim and why, there are some factors and knowledge that could make the difference in one’s survival.
The first line of defense is self-exam. Many women are hesitant to do this simple procedure even when it’s done in private as part of a monthly routine.
The second is routine mammogram. According to Jessica Griffis, one of the mammography technicians at Platte County Memorial Hospital (PCMH), it is imperative that women have this yearly procedure. “You are your own best advocate,” she said.
“Because 11 out of 56 members of my biological family have died of breast cancer, I did not want to get a mammogram. I went to bed every night wondering ‘How can I escape this?’ I couldn’t make the call for an appointment,” said Connie Thomas. “If it hadn’t been for my guardian angel, Lynell Brown, doing it for me, I would have suffered the same fate as other family members.” recurrences.
Knowing one’s risk factors is also important. If you can say yes to the two or more of the following factors, you need to be proactive in your own personal fight against being a breast cancer victim:
• being a woman
• being age 50 or older
• personal history of breast cancer
• having two or more relatives diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer at an early age (genetic factors)
• first full term pregnancy after age 30 or no full term pregnancies
• menopause after age 50
• menstruation before age 12
• obesity, especially after menopause
If you are one who becomes a cancer statistic, there is help above insurance. ‘Wheels Get You There,’ funded by a local man whose wife died of cancer, delivers gas cards to the Wheatland Medical Center (322-3861) to help with travel expenses. Check with the ladies at the desk. The Cancer Resource Center (Barbara Lawyer at 307-633-6863) has funds available to help with travel to treatment. Help is also available at American Cancer Society (ACS) 1-800-227-2345 or for help from Wyoming, the ACS number in Casper is 307-577-4892. On-line information is at www.cancer.org.
For the complete article see the 10-30-2013 issue.
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