WILLIAMSON — “All women can get breast cancer – even those with no family history of the disease. It has no respect for age or race, and will strike one in every eight women,” stated Jacqueline Atkins, CFNP, and the Chief Nursing Executive for Williamson Memorial Hospital.
Thursday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., staff members of the WMH held their annual “Breast Cancer Awareness” event for the public, with April Toler Mullins, one of the registered nurses employed by the healthcare facility heading up the event.
“We wanted today to not only be an opportunity for us to educate the public about the need for annual mammograms and how important early detection is in the fight against breast cancer, but our wish was to make it a fun-filled day that would make these women plan on attending future events,” stated Mullins.
Displays were set up throughout the hospital in various locations and included homemade goodies donated by several employees, free manicures for those waiting to have their mammogram done, and door prizes for everyone who registered for a chance to receive a free mammogram.
“We had some awesome door prizes that were donated not only by our employees, but from several local businesses and organizations,” said Mullins. “We also want to say a special thank you to all those who sponsored our free mammograms, we were blessed to be able to give out a total of 25 today at no cost to the public.”
Those who donated funding for the mammograms included Mingo County Chief Magistrate Dallas Toler, Mingo County Commissioners John Mark (Leann) Hubbard, David Baisden, Greg (Christine) Smith, Attorneys Ron and Marsha Rumora, Attorney Jeff Simpkins, Emergency Services Director Jerrod Fletcher, Gary Stepp, Assessor Ramona Mahon and Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks.
Atkins offered the following tips for breast cancer detection:
“You need to perform a self-examination of your breasts every month. A pea-sized lesion can be detected from one month to another, and a pin-point size lesion can be detected by mammography. The survival rates for those who are diagnosed in the early stages of breast cancer are 90 percent. All women over the age of 20 needs to have an annual breast exam performed by a physician or nurse practitioner.”
“Breast cancer has been diagnosed in females as early as fourteen years of age, and can also affect men as well as women. Men are encouraged to perform self-examinations on a regular basis and should immediately contact their healthcare provider if they feel anything unusual,” said Atkins.
“Women should look at their breasts while standing in front of a mirror and need to contact their doctor if they notice any redness of the skin, drainage from the nipple, distortion in size and proportion between the two breasts, puckering in the skin or a notable lump or lesion.”
Atkins explained that most individuals will only go to the hospital when they experience pain, and stated that breast cancer typically is not a painful disease until it reaches later stages.
“Don’t wait until you experience pain before you seek treatment. Go to your physician at the first sign of a problem,” said Atkins.
If you want to acquire more information about breast cancer or mammograms, you may contact Atkins or Mullins at the WMH by calling 304-235-2500.