KUSAHC hosts breast cancer awareness event
October 31, 2012
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic hosted a "Think Pink Day" in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Oct. 17.
Attendees gathered in the Ortiz Training Conference Room, where Oncology Supportive Care Coordinator Community Liaison Patsy Astarita, from Upper Chesapeake Hospital, gave a presentation on support services for breast cancer patients and survivors in Harford County.
Astarita said that Upper Chesapeake Cancer LifeNet serves all Harford and Cecil County residents, regardless of where they are seeking clinical treatment. Patients and Families who visit Upper Chesapeake Cancer LifeNet receive counseling services and education from social workers and oncology nurses. Upper Chesapeake Cancer LifeNet Nurse Navigators also link patients to local support services for their physical, emotional, and financial needs. More information can be found on www.uchcancer.org/html/cancer_survivors.html.
Astarita said that Upper Chesapeake Hospital continues to support the American Cancer Society's guidelines that annual mammograms save lives for women age 40 years and older. She recommended sending mammogram reminder cards to friends and Family during October or around their birthday.
"You might be saving their life, reminding them to do that," she said.
Astarita added that in addition to mammograms, women can also reduce their risk of breast cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising 45-60 minutes five or more days a week, limiting alcohol intake and hormone replacement therapy.
"Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women," she said. "The good news is there are two and a half million breast cancer survivors."
Astarita added that while patients receive treatment, emotional support from friends and Family is crucial.
"It really isn't about what you say, it is about being present," she said. "Let people know that you are thinking about them, but don't make false reassurances. The most important thing is to stay connected and try to maintain that friendship."
Breast cancer survivors Joya Tucker and Ann Laughton, from KUSAHC, were also honored with pink corsages.
Laughton said that even though her annual mammogram was normal, she detected a lump while doing a breast self-exam.
"Self breast exams are critical," she said. The event also included a Zumba session from instructor Sandy Sanders, pink refreshments and a group photo, in which attendees posed with pink ribbon balloons.