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JBA talks early detection for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Senior Airman Mariah Haddenham | 11th Wing Public Affairs | October 27, 2017

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --

Several women came together to share information and reflect on experiences and information for Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Joint Base Andrews, Md., Oct. 26. Many were inspired to attend because they had been affected by breast cancer themselves, or watched a loved one who experienced it and wanted to learn more.

Approximately one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, making breast cancer the second leading cause of cancer-related death, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.  

“My grandmother was diagnosed and went through a double mastectomy,” said Airman 1st Class Sherry Stewart, 11th Medical Group family health medical technician. “Seeing that opened my eyes and I’m much more vigilant and proactive about early detection. When my daughter gets older I will make sure she understands that as well.”  

The event included several guest speakers who focused on newer early detection methods, dealing with being diagnosed, and what typical treatment options look like.  

For years, women were instructed by doctors and public service announcements that self-examinations were a go-to method for early detection. Breast self-exams are systematic inspections of a woman’s breasts on a regular and repetitive basis for the purpose of detecting breast cancer.    

However, further insight in recent years has doctors recommending breast self-awareness, which encourages a woman to know her own body in an effort to better detect something out of the ordinary.

“Specifically, we are encouraging a woman to be aware of the normal appearance and feel of her breasts,” said Capt. Heather Wolfe, 11th Medical Group OB/GYN physician. “It’s imperative to remain alert to a change or potential problem such as pain, mass, new onset of nipple discharge, or redness. Knowing what to look for can make all the difference.”  

To learn more on breast cancer and early detection, www.nationalbreastcancer.org.