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Harford urges safe breast health during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast CancerCervical CancerNational Breast Cancer Awareness MonthAmerican Cancer Society

It's probably the only time you'll ever see professional male athletes adorned in pink. Look around in October and you are bound to see lots of pink ribbons signifying National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when the Harford County Health Department reminds the public to take action.

Cigarette Restitution Fund Cancer Program Coordinator Susan Twigg, a registered nurse, and Breast and Cervical Cancer Program Coordinator Wendy Richard, also a nurse, of the Harford County Health Department, encourage women to discuss with their doctors their risk and appropriate breast cancer screening. Furthermore, the two wish to send a loud, clear message to men and women alike, to remind their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and any women they love how important it is for them to be screened for breast cancer.

Breast cancer screenings can be quick and easy and generally include two relatively simple procedures. Both the clinical breast exam and a mammogram complement one another. A clinical breast exam is performed by a doctor and can identify breast abnormalities. A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray picture of the breast that can help find breast cancer at an early stage when it can best be treated. Beginning at age 40, it is recommended that women have both procedures performed.

The American Cancer Society provides the following screening recommendations:

• Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam every one to three years;

• Women over the age of 40 should have a yearly clinical breast exam and mammogram; and

• Women at high risk should consult their physician regarding screening type and when to be screened.

Early detection, treatment, research and support from family and friends make a huge difference.

"If all women age 40 and older took advantage of these breast cancer screening methods, clinical breast exam and mammogram, breast cancer death rates would decline considerably more," Richard said.

For those concerned about the cost of mammograms, the Harford County Health Department's Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program offers no-cost mammograms to qualifying women who are Maryland residents, age 40 to 64, have little or no health insurance and who meet the program's financial income guidelines.

For more information about breast cancer awareness or Harford County Health Department Cancer Prevention Services, call the Office of Cancer Prevention Services at 410-612-1780, or visit http://www.harfordcountyhealth.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Breast CancerCervical CancerNational Breast Cancer Awareness MonthAmerican Cancer Society
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