Pocahontas Memorial Hospital employees – men and women alike – wore pink on Wednesday, October 9 to raise awareness of breast cancer. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and at 10am on Wednesday, breast cancer survivor Cheryl Cain read a proclamation declaring it Breast Cancer Awareness Day at the hospital.
Cain who was diagnosed with breast cancer over two years ago and completed dozens of rounds of radiation before being declared cancer free, spoke about her experience and implored the women in attendance to get regular mammograms. Donna Lidel-Burley, a family nurse practitioner at the hospital, also spoke about her experience with breast cancer. A pink-bedecked wreath was hung on the front door and Barbara Campbell (a 29 year breast cancer survivor) distributed literature, cupcakes, and pink punch in the front lobby to hospital visitors, patients, and staff.
Overall rates of breast cancer occurrences are decreasing, but it is still the second leading cause of death among women, according to the American Cancer Society. One in every eight women has the chance of developing breast cancer sometime in her life. Over three-fourths of the breast cancers diagnosed each year occur in women who are 50 or older; this is why it is extremely important to get a mammogram every year after the age of 40. For women ages 20 to 39, mammograms are recommended every three years.
Regular mammograms are even more important for women who smoke. The National Cancer Institute recently reported that there is a direct correlation between smoking cigarettes and increased risks for developing breast cancer. In addition to causing lung cancer, tobacco use also increases one’s chances of developing cancers of the mouth, lips, nose and sinuses, voice box, throat, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon/rectum, and ovary, as well as acute myeloid leukemia. It also raises the risk of many other health problems, including heart and lung diseases.
Early detection can save your life – please schedule a mammogram today!