October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. With one in eight women diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, breast cancer is a prevalent health crisis within the United States. Breast cancer is a type of cancer where cells in the breast tissue divide and grow without normal control. It is a widespread and random disease, striking women of all ages and races. The exact cause of the disease is unknown.

The best way to find breast cancer is with a mammogram. Mammograms can detect cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Women should begin getting regular mammograms at age 40. Women with a high family history of breast cancer should talk to their doctor and follow their recommendations.

In addition to yearly mammograms, Komen Columbus recommends that women learn to recognize what is normal for them. If a woman of any age notices symptoms of breast cancer such as a lump, discharge from the nipple, or pain in the breast, she should see her doctor and talk about having a mammogram in order to detect any problems. Thanks to heightened awareness, early detection through screening, improved treatment methods and increased access to breast health services, people have a greater chance of survival than ever before.

Women living in Perry County are fortunate to be able to receive a mammogram without traveling out of county. Mobile mammography appointments are available six times yearly through the Health Department’s partnership with The James. Call the health department to schedule your next mammogram; regardless of your insurance status, we can help you close to home.

The Perry County Health Department is working to keep you healthy where you live, work and play. For more information about any program or service offered by the Perry County Health Department, contact us at 342-5179, visit us online at www.perrycountyhealth.info and follow us on Facebook!

Deborah Raney is director of health education at the Perry County Health Department and is a weekly contributor to The Perry County Tribune.

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