Early detection
Sara Burley, wife of Lt. Col. Mark Burley with 168th ARS receives a clinical breast exam (CBE) from the deputy commander of nursing at Bassett Army Community Hospital Col. Pearl Kreklau-Caponera, FNP. Burley was one of 20 woman to receive a CBE and a mammogram at the Breast Cancer Awareness Fair Oct. 15. According to the American Cancer Society, women in their 20s and 30s should have a CBE every three years as part of a general health exam. CBEs are a tool to catch breast cancer in its earliest stages. With early detection of breast cancer, the survival rate is 93% over 5 years.

FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - One in eight. According to the American Cancer Society, those are the odds of a woman being diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. In October 2010, Jody Ramos became one of those eight when she was diagnosed with and began treatment for mammary carcinoma.

Ramos, a nurse in Family Practice at Bassett, told her story to a large group of fair attendees and supporters Saturday at the Breast Cancer Awareness Fair hosted by Bassett Army Community Hospital.

"Early detection is the key," said Ramos. "It's been difficult but the support of my Family and friends have made a difference. I'm so thankful for them."

Early detection and offering an environment of support was the main focus of the BCA Fair. Michelle Vargas, Bassett's Health Promotion Nurse organized the event in hopes of showing support to women who have been affected by breast cancer and to show women the importance of early detection.

"Women put off getting mammograms because they can be scary Vargas said. "But The American Cancer Society tells us that when cancer is caught in its first stages the survival rate is 93% over five years and we need to stress the importance of early detection through breast exams and mammograms."

Beneficiaries were able to get clinic breast exams (CBEs) from Bassett nurses and mammograms courtesy of the Breast Cancer Detection Center of Fairbanks' mobile unit. Approximately 20 women had a CBE and a mammogram at the event.

Tracey White came to the fair to set an example for her two daughters by getting her first mammogram. "I turned 40 this year and I thought I was going to get out of it, but the hospital actually called me to schedule, so I couldn't say no. I'm not here for me today. I have two daughters, and I'm here to set a good example and make sure I'm around for them."

The American Cancer Society recommends that women begin getting mammograms at the age of 40 unless they are high risk. Patients should have an open dialogue with their physicians to determine if they fall into this category and should begin getting mammograms sooner.

In addition to CBEs and mammograms, attendees were able to find information on a host of other health issues such as smoking cessation, weight management and the Arctic Health Link's Self-Care Class.

One of the busiest tables of the day was filled with a display of pink ribbon cupcakes. To demonstrate the one to eight odds, attendees were able to choose from a display of cupcakes where one in eight cupcakes had a special fruit filling depicting their chances of being diagnosed with cancer.

A Wall of Honor was displayed for attendees to write on and display pink ribbons with names of friends and loved ones who had been affected by the disease.

Tricare beneficiaries can find information about breast cancer exams and screening at www.Tricare.mil. For more information about breast cancer, visit the National Cancer Institute at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/breast.

Page last updated Fri October 21st, 2011 at 12:17