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Now, during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it's time to learn what to do to prevent breast cancer and how to detect it early for ourselves or for someone we love.
Breast cancer, the 2nd most common cancer among women after skin cancer, is when cells in the breast grow out of control. Finding breast cancer early is critical because it’s easier to treat.
Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women, and as a related consequence, there are men and children whose lives are forever impacted because their wife, mother, aunt, niece, grandma, sister, sister-in-law, mother-in-law has breast cancer. Men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Public health departments in Cherokee, Fannin, Gilmer, Murray, Pickens, and Whitfield counties are working especially hard during the month of October to call attention to this disease that has affected so many and to encourage early detection.
Fannin County Health Department will provide free breast exams by appointment to women who are ages 40 through 64 and are Fannin County residents on Monday, October 25th from 8 am to 3 pm. The Fannin County Health Department location and phone number are 95 Ouida Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30516, (706) 632-3023.
Gilmer County Health Department is providing free goody bags to any female patient visiting the health department during October. The bags consist of mammogram reminders, information about the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention (BCCP) program, self-breast examination instructions and reminders. They will also host a walk-in breast exam day on Wednesday, October 27th from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm. This day, staff will honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month by wearing pink. The Gilmer County Health Department location and phone number are 28 Southside Church Street, Ellijay, GA 30540, (706) 635-4363.
Murray County Health Department will have a Breast Cancer Awareness Day on Wednesday, October 27th at the health department, offering free breast exams from 7:30 am to 11:30 am and from 1 pm to 3:30 pm. The Murray County Health Department location and phone number are 709 Old Dalton-Ellijay Road, Chatsworth, GA 30705, (706) 695-4585.
Whitfield County Health Department will host a Breast Cancer Awareness Day at the Whitfield County Health Department Women's Clinic on Wednesday, October 27th from 8 am to 12 pm. Free clinical breast exams will be provided as well as goody bags. No appointment is necessary. The Whitfield County Health Department location and phone number are 800 Professional Boulevard, Dalton, GA 30720, (706) 279-9600. The Women’s Clinic is in the back.
Cherokee and Pickens County Health Departments offer education and printed materials in their clinics to residents regarding the need for early detection of breast cancer through both self-examinations and healthcare screenings, and they teach the signs and symptoms to look for to detect breast cancer as early as possible. The Cherokee County Health Department locations and phone numbers are Canton Health Center, 1219 Univeter Road, Canton, GA 30115, (770) 345-7371, and Woodstock Health Center, 7545 North Main Street, Suite 100, Woodstock, GA 30188, (770) 928-0133. The Pickens County Health Department location and phone number are 60 Health Way, Jasper, GA 30143, (706) 253-2821.
Some of the warning signs and symptoms of breast cancer are:
- New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit)
- Thickening or swelling of part of the breast
- Irritation or dimpling of breast skin
- Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast
- Pulling in of the nipple
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood
- Any change in the size or shape of the breast
- Pain in the breast
These symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer. If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider right away.
Learn more about the common symptoms of breast cancer and how to prevent it at https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/resources/print.htm.
We need to win the fight against breast cancer.... Early detection is the key!