Since Floyd Medical Center’s The Breast Center has been open, they have helped more than 1,000 women discovered to be at high risk for breast cancer, according to the facility’s director, Aimee Griffin.
That’s done by conducting a comprehensive exam of a woman and finding out about her history, she said. Those factors include family history, the age the woman started menstruating, whether or not she had children in her 30s and if she reached menopause later in life.
“In the past four years, we have seen that protocol pay off,” Griffin said.
Women deemed at high risk are advised to have a clinical breast exam every six months as opposed to every year, and an MRI annually in addition to a mammogram.
“Our main focus has always been knowledge,” Griffin said. “Each woman needs to know about her breast individually.”
Harbin Clinic is home to the Tony E. Warren M.D. Cancer Center.
Janice Hopkins, the cancer services line director at the clinic, said breast cancer awareness efforts have greatly increased the number of women receiving mammograms and the number of cancers detected.
“The good news here is that by raising awareness of the importance of screening and early detection, the stage that breast cancers are detected has shifted,” Hopkins said. “More tumors are discovered in an earlier, more treatable stage, resulting in a decrease in the fatality rates of breast cancer.”
Women should keep in mind that 80 percent of all breast lumps are normal, Griffin said.
“But for us, the saddest stories we see are when women wait,” Griffin said. “The sooner we find it, the better.”
Breast cancer screenings and a support group for survivors are among the offerings of The Women’s Center at Redmond Regional Medical Center.
The facility is celebrating the victories of women who have battled breast cancer with Surviving to Share.
The Oct. 23 event at Coosa Country Club will give women a chance to tell their survivor and caregiver stories and encourage others.