Hillsboro-Marion health fair to offer mammography

Health Fair 2001 is scheduled for March 31 at the Marion Elementary School.

Opportunities for services will be offered by the two sponsoring hospitals-St. Luke Hospital of Marion and Hillsboro Commuity Medical Center-in a cooperative effort to the community.

The Via Christi Mobile Mammogram Unit will be on site at the health fair. Appointments must be scheduled in advance by calling HCMC at 947-3114.

St. Luke Hospital offers mammograms weekly, Monday through Saturday in the new radiology suite. To schedule appointments, call St. Luke Hospital at 382-2177.

Regular mammograms are the best defense against breast cancer, according to experts. A mammogram can detect breast cancer in its earliest stages before a lump can be felt.

Finding breast cancer early gives women the greatest chance of survival and the best treatment options.

Mammography is an X-ray technique used to create an image of the breast and to detect cancer or other breast disease.

A diagnostic mammogram is done when a suspicious lump or sign is noticed. Screening is recommended for women starting at age 40, even if they appear to be healthy and have no symptoms.

The signs and symptoms include lumps in the breast or armpit, thickening in the breast, dimpling of or recent changes in skin or nipple, and discharge from the nipple.

A small amount of discharge is usually harmless. A heavy or bloody discharge is cause for concern.

Most breast lumps are not cancerous. Those women found to have malignant tumors but who are diagnosed and treated early, generally undergo less extensive surgery and have a greater chance of survival.

Most experts feel mammography is the best way to detect cancer when no symptoms exist. Overall, the accuracy rate is high-especially when used with a physical exam.

When a suspicious lump or abnormality are seen on a mammogram, further diagnostic studies are performed.

Tumors that are too small to be felt by a woman or her health-care provider can be detected by mammography. Precancerous changes in the breast can also be seen.

In addition to regular mammograms, a physical breast examination is an important part of breast cancer detection.

Professional exams should be performed regularly, and every woman should perform a monthly breast self-exam.

Young girls who have just begun menstruation should also be taught to examine themselves.

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