With all of the medical research dedicated to solving cancer, one thing is certain -- for those struggling with breast cancer, early detection is the key to beating the disease.
In an attempt to educate area women about breast cancer, the Fulton County Health Unit sponsored Breast Cancer Awareness Day Oct. 22.
Nurse practitioner Patsy Britt said because October is recognized nationally as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the medical unit chose Oct. 22 to try to reach area residents and provide information.
Britt said approximately 20 women attended throughout the day to view an educational video and read literature that provided information about the cause and treatment of breast cancer as well as preventative measures that can be taken.
Despite the increasing prevalence of breast cancer, many individual's are still unaware of common risk factors or how to detect the disease, according to information provided by the health unit.
Britt agreed. "Even though (breast cancer's) not considered a young woman's disease, it's a possibility. The disease is harder to diagnose in younger women, but (cancer) is much more aggressive in women under 40," she said.
Britt said though doctors stress that women should begin having yearly mammograms after turning 40, clinical breast exams and self exams are important for women of all ages. "One-fifth of breast cancer cases happen to women under 40. Early detection is the key," Britt said. "And that's why we're (having Breast Cancer Awareness Day) -- to get the message out."
The Baxter Regional Medical Center Mobile Mammography Unit will be at the Fulton County Health Unit to provide mammograms to area residents Nov. 19.
Those wanting more information about breast cancer and treatment options can contact the Fulton County Health Unit at 895-3300 or go online to the American Cancer Society's official Web site at www.cancer.org or the BreastCare program online at www.ARBreast.com.