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Monthly breast self-exams urged

Patti Johnson, manager of Diagnostic Services at Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc., talked about total breast health this week in response to recent media attention around the Canadian Cancer Society’s Quebec chapter announcing that monthly breast self-examinations are not needed.

“The Riverside Breast Health Program promotes total breast health,” said Johnson. “That consists of three things: 1). breast self-examination 2). breast examinations by a trained professional and 3). mammograms as required.

“These three things together are what we believe are helping in the early detection of breast cancer and ultimately saving lives,” she stressed.

Johnson agreed that a lump found through breast self-examination might well have been detected earlier with a clinical exam and/or mammogram.

But she also feels the awareness about breast self-examinations is what has led to more women being proactive with their breast health.

“More and more women, young and old, are coming to our program to have a clinical breast examination performed by a qualified nurse examiner and that’s great,” Johnson remarked.

As part of their appointment, women also receive one-to-one education and instructions on how to perform a breast self-exam.

Johnson acknowledged the efforts of the Rainy River District Breast Health Network in promoting awareness about early detection and total breast health.

“They [network volunteers] have worked hard over the years to promote the Riverside Breast Health Program and our numbers have definitely gone up due to this increased awareness,” she noted.

In fact, the network is hosting the “Luncheon of Hope” this Saturday (Oct. 20) at La Place Rendez-Vous to promote breast cancer awareness for women of all ages.

“It’s a great afternoon,” enthused network chair Teresa Hazel. “We really encourage all women to attend—mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and wives . . . young and old!”

The network is pleased to welcome Dr. Carole Spread, the new surgeon at La Verendrye Hospital, as their guest speaker this year.

She will be discussing prevention strategies and the treatment options available for those diagnosed with breast cancer.

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