Mammograms help to save lives and TAMC, ACAP and DOC made World Cancer Day, a global event designed to raise the awareness of cancer, its prevention, detection and treatment, a good day to stress the importance of having regular mammograms. It is the perfect opportunity to promote the idea of early detection and to bring local awareness to the importance of having mammograms as a crucial step in the fight against breast cancer.
“Early detection means early treatment and improving a woman’s chances of beating the disease. It may also mean more treatment options with a small cancer, and treatments at an earlier stage will most likely have fewer side effects,” said TAMC’s Lead Mammographer Lana McNamee, R.T.(R)(M).
Each person who received a mammogram at TAMC on February 4 received a $20 CITGO gas card, half of which ACAP purchased with grant monies it received through its Healthy Aroostook program, and the other half of which came in the form of matching funds courtesy of DOC.
“We hoped that this event will help raise local awareness and increase the number of women getting mammograms and working on healthier lifestyles with the ultimate goal of reducing the cancer rate,” said ACAP Community Education Specialist Jo-Ellen Kelley.
ACAP and TAMC have partnered on numerous community health-related events and education programs, but this is the first time the two organizations have come together for a World Cancer Day event. Bringing DOC on board as a third partner was a logical decision given that company’s outstanding reputation in the community for supporting cancer efforts.
“As a ‘pink’ company promoting and advocating breast cancer awareness and education, many of our messages in the form of advertisements and public service announcements encourage women to get their mammograms; being asked to support ACAP and ultimately the women receiving mammograms on World Cancer Day at TAMC reinforces our efforts in promoting this great cause,” said Sonya Dechene LeBoeuf, Marketing Manager at Daigle Oil Company.
The World Cancer Day event at TAMC stressed the importance of early detection, which increases the chances of a woman with breast cancer living an additional five years by 98 percent. There are several things a woman should do to increase the chances of early detection, including annual exams by a provider, monthly self-exams, a first screening mammogram by age 40 and follow-up mammograms every one to two years for women between the ages of 40 and 49 as well as yearly after age 50.
“Women need to check with their provider for guidance. If there is a strong family history of breast cancer, the mammogram should be at an earlier age. Generally women should start at the age of 40 and continue until the age of 74, and if in good health, continuing ten more years. The American Cancer Society and American College of Radiology have information sites on the internet,” said McNamee.
McNamee says she hopes the gas cards will help to offset the cost of traveling to the hospital, and therefore encourage those who may have put off the procedure to take advantage of the TAMC, ACAP and DOC World Cancer Day event.
“I hope this will give women the opportunity and resources necessary to obtain a mammogram and be proactive in their breast health care,” said McNamee. “It’s great to have community businesses support an important woman’s service. This may be just enough for a woman to get that mammogram they may have put off due to lack of travel funds. Women are the traditional caregivers, and they need to take care of their health so they can continue to care for their families.”
Women interested in scheduling a mammogram should talk to their provider, who will help them schedule an appointment.