The Medical Minute: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Michelle Farnan

With October upon us, pink ribbons emerge and the color pink seems to appear everywhere. In 1985, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was initiated and included a weeklong event addressing with Congress the need for mammogram accessibility. Today, advocates participate in events to raise money and share breast health messages.

One of the most important messages continues to be that all women 40 years old and older should have an annual mammogram at an accredited breast center, such as the Penn State Hershey Breast Center at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Mammograms are still the best tool to find breast cancer early. These days, they’re even more comfortable than before -- many centers now use special pads to soften the experience.

It also is important for women to do monthly breast self-exams and visit their medical providers annually for a clinical breast and pelvic exam. Breast self-exams allow women to learn what’s normal for their body. If a lump is found, there is nipple discharge or any skin changes, an appointment should be made with a health care provider.

This message sounds simple, but many women do not follow these guidelines. Celebrate this October by starting a new tradition. Call a friend and schedule your mammogram together. Make it a special day by sharing a fun activity after your mammogram. And mark your calendars for two upcoming Breast Center Events.

Susann Schetter, doctor of osteopathic medicine, will present a community lecture, “Do I need a mammogram?” from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14, at Penn State Hershey Medical Group in Camp Hill. The practice is located at 3025 Market Street, Camp Hill. Registration for the event is limited -- to make reservations, call 800-243-1455.

And on Thursday, Oct. 21, tune into ABC27 from 7:30-8:00 p.m. for Hope and Courage: A tribute to breast health, hosted by Valerie Pritchett. This call-in show features Penn State Hershey Breast Center specialists and patients and will give viewers an opportunity to speak one-on-one with Penn state Hershey breast health experts.

Call Penn State Hershey Breast Center today to schedule your mammogram: 800-243-1455.

If you or someone you love does not have medical insurance, please don’t let your health suffer. Mammograms may still be available by calling the Healthy Woman program at 800-215-7494.

Michelle Farnan, R.N., M.S.N., O.C.N., is a registered nurse at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Hershey Breast Center.

Contacts: 
Last Updated October 12, 2010