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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and on this months Health Talk, our Jeff Raiford had a discussion with Memorial Health Meadows Hospital Director of Radiology Tracey Kennedy about the importance of early detection.

Kennedy is a third-generation breast cancer survivor, and was diagnosed with the disease at age 38, which is considered a young age. However, because she had family that had been diagnosed, she began her mammograms early and which possibly saved her life.

According to Kennedy, women should listen to their doctor’s advice as to when to begin getting their own mammograms, but insurance usually starts covering the cost when a woman is around 40 or earlier if there is a diagnostic reason. The procedures can be annually or biannually depending on the patient’s age, preference, and medical recommendations.

In addition to following a woman’s doctor’s guidelines, women themselves bear a responsibility to keep a check on possible signs of breast cancer, and Kennedy says what women should be mindful of.

“Women need to know their own breasts,” she said. “If you find a lump, skin dimpling, nipple retraction or leakage, or if you see a red patchy rash or detect lymph node swelling, you should see your doctor.”

For more information on breast cancer, visit the Memorial Health Meadows Hospital or the American Cancer Society’s websites.

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