Raleigh General hosts breast cancer event
10/09/2013 - The Register-Herald. By Brandi Underwood.
BECKLEY - The Raleigh General Hospital Education Center was adorned in pink for a special purpose Tuesday for the hospital’s Breast Cancer Awareness Celebration event.
While the event was a celebration for breast cancer survivors, it was also an educational event. Dr. Shawn Reesman, a board certified diagnostic radiologist, served as the event’s keynote speaker. Reesman discussed the medical diagnosis procedure of breast cancer, different diagnosis methods, including mammograms and M.R.I. scans, signs of cancer, disease progression and other topics.
Reesman stressed the importance of personal vigilance being the primary key of early detection, in addition to completing routine mammograms.
He also added that the everyone is at risk of developing breast cancer, women and men alike.
“Being vigilant pays off,” Reesman said.
Women with close relatives who have had breast cancer should begin getting routine mammograms 10 years sooner than the age of their relative’s diagnosis, he said.
Reesman recommended that a woman whose mother had breast cancer at the age of 40 should begin their mammograms at the age of 30, 10 years earlier than the age of their mother’s diagnosis.
Additionally, he recommended that women should always get mammograms from an FDA Certified Mammography Facility, return to the same place each year in order for potential mammogram changes to be monitored, bring copies of prior mammogram results and avoid scheduling appointments for the week before their menstrual cycle.
Reesman also discussed the various detection methods, including mammography, ultrasound and M.R.I.
“There is a role for mammography, there is a role for ultrasound and there is a role for M.R.I.,” Reesman explained.
The proper detection method all depends on what the lesion is, the nature of the breast, how the breast is designed, tissue qualities and other factors, he said.
“Sometimes a lesion will be detected on mammography and not on M.R.I., and vice versa,” Reesman explained.
Kathy Cook, RGH’s mammography coordinator, organized a special ribbon pinning ceremony for breast cancer survivors to participate in, as well as those related or acquainted with a someone who battled breast cancer.
Bev Williams, a one-year survivor; Nancy Ward, a six-year survivor; 13-year-survivor Barbara Ferguson; 15-year-survivor Peggy McGlothlin; and eight-week survivor Nancy Snead were among the RGH staff members honored during the ceremony.
Ward, an infection control nurse, said that she was shocked to find out about her breast cancer diagnosis.
After having a clear mammogram in May of 2007, she was later examining herself in November and felt a pea-sized lump. After going to the doctor, the results came back as cancer.
“You think it will never happen to you. But it did, and you very quickly have to come to grips with that,” she said.
“My biggest fear was what the treatments would do. Would I survive? You get the news, and you don’t know what stage it is. You just hear that word,” Ward recalled.
Ward said that Tuesday’s events were emotional for her, as they brought back the strong emotions she had during her cancer struggle.
“It’s rewarding to see that other women have gone through the same thing you have, and they’re beautiful people,” said Ward.
Ward survived stage one breast cancer, after undergoing a lumpectomy surgery and radiation therapy six years ago. With each good mammogram, Ward said her struggle with cancer gets easier to bear.
“Early detection is key,” she said.
Anyone wishing to pin a ribbon to the breast cancer awareness wreath for either themselves or a loved one is invited to do so. The wreath and ribbons will be on display in RGH’s main lobby for the duration of October.