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Luncheon puts spotlight on breast cancer

Pink was the color of the day last Thursday in the Georgia room at the White Columns Inn. Approximately 80 ladies from the community attended a breast cancer awareness luncheon sponsored by the American Cancer Society, Partners for Success and the McDuffie County Health Department.

In addition to pineapple glazed ham and broccoli casserole, the ladies received educational literature and an assortment of pink items, ranging from drinking cups and calendar planners to lip balm, that were printed with reminders encouraging regular breast checks and screenings. The keynote speaker was Jennie Montgomery, a news anchor for WJBF Channel 6 in Augusta.

"We don't need to talk about it in whisper tones," Ms. Montgomery said. "Everybody has a mother, daughter, sister or aunt that has been affected by breast cancer. Everybody is affected by it."

Using a calendar printed by University Hospital, called "a portrait of life," Ms. Montgomery shared true stories of women with various stages of the cancer. After giving emotional accounts of surgeries, hair loss and chemo treatments, Ms. Montgomery talked about screenings, treatment options and statistics.

Ms. Montgomery said breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women ages 35-54, and one woman dies every 11 minutes from the cancer.

Only 55 percent of women have regular screenings. If the cancer is detected in the early stages, the survival rate is over 90 percent. McDuffie County Health Department Administrator Virginia Bradshaw said there are programs that help uninsured women receive screenings and treatment.

"There's no reason anybody can not get care," Ms. Bradshaw said. "I think they sometimes just don't know that, so they don't try. The lack of medical insurance does not mean you can't get treatment."

Ms. Bradshaw said the health department offers clinical exams and mammograms for uninsured women ages 40-64. The mammograms are done at McDuffie Regional Medical Center, but are scheduled through the health department. For more information, contact nurse Kathy Linebarger at the health department, 706-595-1740.

Web posted on Thursday, October 25, 2007

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