JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
More than 300 Soldiers, Airmen and members of the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson community rallied together in support of breast cancer awareness with a 5K run on base Sept. 28.
October is nationally recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the goal of raising awareness of breast cancer signs and symptoms and emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis.
“The sooner you catch it, the greater your chance of recovery, so spreading the vital message of early detection of breast cancer with fellow Airmen, Soldiers and families can be lifesaving,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Shannon Simmons, 673d Contracting Squadron contract specialist. “You never know what kind of challenges someone may be facing, but when we stand together, we can share the fight and overcome together.”
The National Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation estimates 220,000 U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year and over 40,000 will perish. Although breast cancer in men is uncommon, an estimated 2,150 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 410 perish each year. Fortunately, many people can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.
The foundation also finds that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime, but when it’s detected early, and is in the localized stage, the five-year relative survival rate is 100 percent.
Early detection includes conducting monthly breast self-exams, and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms. Breast cancer can also be diagnosed through ultrasounds, MRIs and biopsies.
The Johns Hopkins Medical Center advises women to perform a breast self-exam at least once a month.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, symptoms include changes in how the breast or nipple feels or looks, and any nipple discharge, particularly clear or bloody discharge.
While self-exams and mammography constitute the front lines of early detection, the diagnostic imaging capabilities at JBER allow for a full spectrum of modern medical imaging.
The JBER radiology clinic recommends women over 40 get an annual preventive screening.
The radiology clinic is offering walk-in annual mammograms from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 5, 12 and 19 for women who don’t anticipate any new signs or symptoms and who have had a prior exam conducted at JBER. Women experiencing new signs or symptoms must schedule an appointment with their primary care manager.
To boost awareness, the radiology clinic currently has an information booth set up at the JBER hospital.
To schedule a preventive screening, call the radiology clinic at 580-6743.
For more information on breast cancer awareness, or concerns about breast cancer, visit americancancersociety.org or speak to a primary care provider.