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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Early screening saves lives

Updated: Sep. 30, 2020 at 6:06 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - October 1 kicks off the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month – a vitally important time to raise funds and support outreach programs for women and men all over the world.

This year, the month took on a different meaning for me, as I struggled with a health scare that reminded me why, even during this period of uncertainty, it’s so important to take care of ourselves – both physically and emotionally.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many women to fall behind on their annual health appointments, which doctors say could have serious consequences.

Dr. Douglas Bull with the Prisma Health Breast Center said he’s seen several women push back or cancel appointments.

“There was a gap there...we don’t want women to just put it off till next year because we often see, for lack of a better term, sometimes a disaster story if a woman puts off screening for two to three years.”

Bull went on to say that early screenings, annual mammograms for most women over 40, and keeping regular appointments with your primary care physicians is key.

“It’s what will help us detect and diagnose whatever is wrong,” he said.

With COVID precautions in mind, I still wanted to keep my appointments. So, this year, an annual visit to my OBGYN found a lump in my breast my doctor believed could be fibroadenoma - a benign tumor that can be common.

After a trip to the Prisma Health Breast Center, an ultrasound revealed the lump was not anything serious, just a mass of lumpy tissue. A relief for sure – but for some women, skipping that yearly appointment could be a different story.

For South Carolina resident Dawn Hunt -- a breast cancer survivor and the chair of the Walk for Life and Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon, 10K and 5K walk -- early detection and an annual exam caught her breast cancer early.

“I was 45, following a routine mammogram...found one tumor and then a second,” she explained.

She said before her diagnosis, she had friends who had never received a mammogram.

Now, her platform and her story is an inspiration all over the state as she continues to push for education and funding to support the women and families of those who have breast cancer.

“This event, it brings awareness...but it’s really about year-round education and support.”

This year is the 30th anniversary of Walk for Life. Though there won’t be a big pink finish line in downtown Columbia this year, Prisma is moving to a virtual Walk for Life and Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon, 5K + 10K this fall.

For all who are interested, donations and registrations are available for the entire month. Find all of that information by visiting their website here.

The proceeds for the event stay entirely in the Midlands to bring support a community that is seeking to provide care and comfort for all.

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