The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

May 9, 2013

Official emphasizes routine mammograms, self-exams

OTTUMWA —The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure starts at 7 a.m. Saturday in the Jimmy Jones Shelter in Ottumwa Park, and Lynelle Diers hopes everyone will "keep up mammograms."

Diers, the executive director of Wapello County Public Health, said Thursday the recommendation is for screening before age 40 because aging brings body tissue changes and people need to get the screening mammogram.

If there's a family history, family members may have to start screening at an early age. Diers said self-breast exams are recommended once a month and the majoritity of breast cancer cases are from self-examinations.

"Individuals who do self-exams on a monthly basis are more likely to detect breast cancer at an earlier stage," she said. "You get to know the breasts and you'll notice a lump that wasn't there before."

Breast cancer is very treatable in the early stage, according to Diers. It's easier to detect compared to the big lumps and easier to mitigate. Also, women aren't the only ones who get breast cancer, according to Diers, who said men can get it, too.

Breast cancer doesn't discriminate for age, sex or race, Diers said. And if a woman doesn't have the money, different entities like some hospitals and clinics will assist with grant programs for community members.

"That's what Komen for the Cure does," Diers said. "Help goes into the community. There should be no barrier to a woman to get a screening exam. It's wonderful there's funding available locally."

Diers also noted her department has teaching models and the nurses can show patients how to do self-examinations.

For information, contact Wapello County Public Health Nurses at 108 E. Main St. or 641-682-5434.

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