Breast Cancer Forum pushes early detection

By: Denise Bradberry Email
By: Denise Bradberry Email

Studies show that one in every eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer.

That’s a diagnosis every three minutes making it the most common cancer among women.

Women from around Enterprise showed up Tuesday for the Coffee County Breast Cancer and Women's Health Issues Forum to learn the very latest on protecting themselves.

Susan Steck knows first hand what it feels like to find out she had breast cancer.

"Pure panic, the usual why is this happening to me, what am I going to do? Am I going to die now?" says Steck, “When you're right in the midst of it you don't know. There's so much uncertainty.”

But as a ten year cancer survivor, Steck says breast cancer isn't terrifying any more.

“Now we know how many people are cured of breast cancer and can live for far longer than they ever thought they were going to,” says Steck.

Tuesday's forum focused on spreading that knowledge.

“They know what to do about it, they're not afraid of it because breast cancer is not a big black box to them. They're familiar with it and not only that, should a friend have a problem they can educate them and make them more comfortable with their diagnosis,” says General Surgeon, Dr. Sam Sawyer.

“We're giving them the very latest information. We have doctors coming in to talk to them, we're answering their questions,” says Lucille Latham, with the Coffee County Family Services Center.

The number one message they wanted to push is the significance of regular exams.

“Get your mammograms. Do your breast self-exams, because I can talk the talk and have walked the walk. I am a two time breast cancer survivor. I know that early detection is the key to surviving,” says Latham, “Until we find a cure for breast cancer, early detection is truly our very best protection.”

To illustrate, organizers gave out bracelets called "beads of hope."

Each bead represented the size of a breast lump at different stages of detection showing attendees first hand how important it is to catch it early.

If you come to me with a 1 to 2 millimeter spot on your mammogram, you can be cured with a greater than 95% assurance. If you wait and come with a large tumor in your breast it's less likely to be curable.

The American Cancer Society suggests women start self-exams at age 20 and mammograms at 40.

Below you’ll find a few links with more information about breast cancer including how to perform a self-exam.

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