Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in 1985 as an annual health campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Now, with 26 years of awareness, women AND men are encouraged to take action. Practicing regular self-breast examinations, getting mammograms as recommended and scheduling regular visits with physicians can lead to early detection….and early detection saves lives.
Nelly is one of the Neighborhood Health Clinic’s breast cancer survivors because of early detection. Nelly became a patient at the Clinic in January 2006 but it wasn’t until October of the following year that she began to worry about something more serious. “I think I have something wrong in my breast,” she said to herself when she first felt a lump while doing a self-breast exam. Nelly, with a 5 year old daughter at home, had received the news all woman fear…..she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “The Neighborhood Health Clinic did a biopsy and everything,” she explained. The next three years for Nelly and her family included chemotherapy and radiation therapy, as well as a mastectomy and reconstruction surgery of her breast. “Now I feel good. I will always be grateful for what the Neighborhood Health Clinic did for me.” Nelly has been in remission for 4 years. Nelly and her daughter never forget how the early detection and treatment she received at the Neighborhood Health Clinic saved her life.
In 2005 the Neighborhood Health Clinic produced “Self Breast Examination, A Tutorial That Could Save Your Life!” This video is in three languages and guides patients through a self-breast exam. All female patients are offered an opportunity to watch the video and a copy is available free of charge upon request. By utilizing this multilingual DVD, the Clinic has seen a substantial increase in the number of completed screening mammograms.
It is estimated that 500 patients will receive screening mammograms through Neighborhood Health Clinic this year and 160 patients will need diagnostic procedures. The Clinic is able to offer these services through a $70,000 grant received from the Susan G. Komen SW FL Affiliate.
“Our partnership with the Neighborhood Health Clinic is crucial to providing access to breast health services for those who have nowhere else to turn. These preventive measures can positively reduce the number of deaths due to breast cancer. Early detection saves lives – the survival rate was 74% in 1982 and today it is 98% thanks to increased awareness and screening” says Miriam Ross, Executive Director of Susan G. Komen SW FL Affiliate.
The Neighborhood Health Clinic offers a few simple tips to take action against breast cancer:
- Perform a self-breast exam every month. Pick a day each month that is easy to remember so you will not forget. For example, the first of every month, the first day after your period, etc.
- Schedule your annual physician visits around your birthday so you do not forget them.
- View the “Self Breast Examination, A Tutorial That Cold Save Your Life!” video to make sure you are using proper techniques during your self-breast exam.