Raising awareness about the importance of regular mammograms – that’s what three county organizations came together to do on Tuesday. The Aroostook Medical Center, the Aroostook County Action Program, and Daigle Oil Company all teamed up to encourage women to take a big step in the fight against breast cancer and get screened.
Sonya Dechene LeBoeuf, marketing manager at DOC says, “there is a need here in the county for education of the importance of getting a mammogram particularly because it saves lives and as an advocate we take pride in trying to get that message out there into the community.”
This is also their way of recognizing World Cancer Day, which is a global event that aims to improve people’s knowledge about cancer, its prevention, detection, and treatment. Every woman who came in to get a mammogram at TAMC received a 20 dollar CITGO gas card courtesy of ACAP’s Healthy Aroostook Program and Daigle Oil Company. The organizations hope the gas card will help women with the cost of traveling to and from the hospital and encourage more women to get checked. TAMC’s lead mammographer Lana McNamee gives more than 5 thousand mammograms a year – and of those, between 16 and 24 women are diagnosed with breast cancer.
McNamee says, “women are afraid to have them, maybe afraid of the results, heard stories that it’s not a very pleasant exam, a lot of different reasons.”
Jo-Ellen Kelley, community education specialist at ACAP says, “the earlier it’s detected by screenings or even self exams or going to your primary care, the quicker the recovery.”
One of those lives is breast cancer survivor Carrie Winslow…who was diagnosed back in 2011 after missing her mammogram the year before.
Winslow says, “I hear a lot of women say ya know ‘oh its okay, I had my mammogram last year I can go another year or two’ but, its really important to get a yearly screening.”
McNamee adds that women are traditionally the family caregivers – so it’s important they take care of themselves, so they can then take care of those around them.