About 15 years ago, I lost my grandmother to cancer. Shortly thereafter, I lost an aunt to it. I have numerous friends and friends of friends who have either had cancer or been affected by it. We all do.
To be honest, every time I get a checkup, I’m a little nervous because cancer runs in my family.
I’m a fairly rational person (most of the time) and I do know it’s important to do self-examinations and, at my age, mammograms, too. I’ve done research and see that early detection can save lives. Still, when you have a history of it in your family, getting a mammogram can be a bit intimidating, and to first-timers it can be a bit of a mystery.
Allow me to demystify the procedure. A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray exam of the breasts to look for changes that are not normal. The results are recorded on X-ray film or directly into a computer for examination by a doctor called a radiologist. It allows the doctor to have a closer look for changes in breast tissue that cannot be felt during a breast exam.
Mammogram guidelines seem to differ about when to begin them – at age 40 or at age 50 and some I’ve seen have said as early as 30 years of age.
I think what’s important, however, is that we are all on the same mission and that is one of encouraging our mothers, sisters, girlfriends and wives to be proactive when it comes to their health.
Do research on breast cancer and encourage all the ladies you know to do so as well. Get a mammogram, do your self-exams, be proactive and encourage the women that you know to do so as well.
Augusta in October will be a sea of pink. I think the city even turns the water pink in the fountains on Broad Street. They put pink ribbons on lamp posts, hospitals give out pins, people walk and/or run for a cure to raise awareness. I hope, too, as we move into October we encourage one another to get a mammogram.
You can support breast cancer awareness in October by participating in these events as well:
• A Breast Cancer Survivor Dinner will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 2 at Savannah Rapids Pavilion, 3300 Evans to Locks Road. The free event sponsored by University Health Care System is for survivors of breast cancer only and reservations are required. Call (706) 447-4141.
• PlayDate Augusta, 96.3 Kiss FM and the Partridge Inn will play host to Real Men Wear Pink – Play for a Cure at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 at the Partridge Inn Penthouse.
This alternative to your typical night out will provide a fun and exciting atmosphere with good food and cocktails, a variety of music and socializing. It’s also a fundraiser for breast cancer survivor Marilyn Norris and Team Strong Blessings. This phenomenal group of women will be walking in the three-day 60-mile Susan G Komen Walk in Atlanta.
• Breast Cancer: What You Need To Know, a community education event presented by Randy W. Cooper, M.D., will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 11 on the fourth floor of the North Augusta Municipal Building, 100 Georgia Ave. Light refreshments will be served and reservations are required by calling (706) 774-4141.
• What’s New in Breast Cancer Treatments? will be presented by oncologist Mitchell Berger, M.D. from 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at Savannah Rapids Pavilion, Grand Rapids Room, 3300 Evans to Locks Road. This event is free, and light refreshments will be served. Reservations are required by calling (706) 774-4141.
• Author and comedian Anita Renfroe will be the guest speaker for The Augusta Chronicle’s annual We Think Pink Banquet on Oct. 24 at the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center. A silent auction begins at 6 p.m., and dinner is at 7. Tickets are $40 or $280 for a table of eight and are available at The Chronicle, 725 Broad St., The Columbia County New-Times, 4272 Washington Road in Evans, or at wethinkpinkinaugusta.com.
• Cher’s Sisters Only Club will hold the eighth annual South Augusta Women’s Health and Beauty Expo from 2-5 p.m. Oct. 28 at Diamond Lakes Park. This free event offers health and wellness information, screenings, entertainment and vendors. The first 100 will receive a tote bag, and all can expect to be pampered, win prizes, and get health and beauty tips. For details, call (706) 495-6283.