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Four reasons to get a mammogram

 
Pam Logan, special to the Du Quoin Evening Call
updated: 10/5/2015 11:09 PM

Ask any of the four Marshall Browning Hospital employees who are breast cancer survivors about the importance of having a mammogram and they will tell you "it saves lives." It saved theirs. Survivors include Kim Kellerman (Admitting) – 13 years; Karen Miller (Surgery) – 6 years; Sarah Dickey (Human Resources) – 9 years; and Pam Loiacono (Imaging) – 4 years.

Marshall Browning Hospital staff is recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month throughout October. Many activities are taking place to help raise awareness of the disease. The hospital sign and lights on the courtyard will glow pink during the month along with pink ribbons on each of the buildings throughout the hospital campus. The hospital also participated in the "Color Southern Illinois Pink" campaign in which a 6 x 3 foot pink breast cancer ribbon was painted on the hospital lawn. The ribbon was purchased from Southern Illinois Resurfacing to raise breast cancer awareness with 50% of the proceeds being donated to the American Cancer Society. The ribbon is painted in front of the Hospital Auxiliary"s "tree of life" which is decorated in pink lights.

Lawn signs with educational messages about breast cancer will be placed at the entrances to the buildings on the campus and even the fountain at the entrance flows with pink water. Kim Kellerman, Admitting Supervisor and breast cancer survivor, made pink ribbons for employees to wear for $1 with proceeds being donated to the American Cancer Society. Ralph Bunton, Information Technology, made breast cancer awareness bracelets for the breast cancer survivors and others.

The Hospital is also offering those patients with no insurance or high deductibles a cash discounted charge of $175 for mammograms scheduled during the month of October (not including the radiologist"s reading). All patients who schedule a mammogram in October will be entered into a drawing for a FREE massage. Mammograms may be scheduled by calling 618-542-1073.

From the American Cancer Society

Widespread use of screening mammograms has increased the number of breast cancers found before they cause any symptoms. Still some breast cancers are not found by mammograms, either because the test was not done or because even under ideal conditions mammograms do not find every breast cancer.

The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A mass that is painless, hard, and has irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or rounded. They can even be painful. For this reason, it is important to have any new breast mass or lump, or breast change checked by a health care professional experienced in diagnosing breast diseases.

Other possible signs of breast cancer include:

• Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)

• Skin irritation or dimpling

• Breast or nipple pain

• Nipple retraction (turning inward)

• Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin

• A nipple discharge other than breast milk

Sometimes a breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes under the arm or around the collar bone and cause a lump or swelling there, even before the original tumor in the breast tissue is large enough to be felt.

Although any of these symptoms can be caused by things other than breast cancer, if you have them, they should be reported to your doctor so that he or she can find the cause.