Grundy County Memorial Hospital is taking the opportunity during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to encourage women to schedule their annual mammogram and perform routine self-exams.
One of the earliest signs of breast cancer can be an abnormality that shows up on a mammogram before it can be felt. The most common signs of breast cancer are a lump in the breast, abnormal thickening of the breast, or a change in the shape or color of the breast. Finding a lump or change in your breast does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Additional changes that may also be signs of breast cancer include: Any new, hard lump or thickening in any part of the breast. Change in breast size or shape. Dimpling or puckering of the skin. Swelling, redness or warmth that does not go away. Pain in one spot that does not vary with your monthly cycle. Pulling in of the nipple. Nipple discharge that starts suddenly and appears only in one breast. An itchy, sore, or scaling area on one nipple.
Mammography screening remains the best available method to detect breast cancer early. The American Cancer Society recommends women between the ages of 35 and 40 receive their first mammogram with yearly mammograms after age 40. Grundy County Memorial Hospital has four Mammography Technologists on staff to serve the patients needs and recently upgraded its mammography equipment with the latest advanced digital technology that provides superior image quality. During the month of October, women scheduling a mammogram will receive a free gift from the hospital.
Since the Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined. This is exciting progress, but there are still women who do not take advantage of early detection at all and others who do not get screening mammograms and clinical breast exams at regular intervals. Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Iowa. Screening mammograms and breast self examinations can help catch breast cancer at its earliest stages when it can be treated.
The Iowa Care for Yourself Program is available at GCMH. This program helps low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women gain access to breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services. For more information on this program, call: (800) 369-2229. For more information about breast cancer and mammography or any of GCMH services please call 319-824-5421 or visit our website at www.grundycountyhospital.org.