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Local organizations offer breast exams to deal with high incide

October 27, 2003|by Christine L. Moats

According to the 2002 statistics of cases listed in the Washington County Hospital tumor registry, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in Washington County.

"Although the incidence of breast cancer is high in Washington County," says Patty Hanson, administrative director of the John R. Marsh Cancer Center, "there is also a wealth of resources to assist those who are concerned about this cancer, including education, information, support, supplies, diagnoses and treatment."

Several local organizations are working together to detect and treat breast cancer as early as possible. Organizations providing these services are Washington County Health Department's Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, Breast Cancer Awareness of Cumberland Valley (formerly Y-ME), and several programs of Washington County Hospital, including the John R. Marsh Cancer Center.

These groups, along with the Community Free Clinic, H.W. Murphy Community Health Center, Hagerstown HotSpot Communities' Neighborhood Improvement program and Antietam Health Services' physician practices are working with a two-year grant from the Maryland affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to provide free breast health clinics throughout Washington County.

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Each clinic provides participants with transportation, education on breast health, a clinical breast exam and a mammogram if necessary. Mammograms are provided regardless of insurance or ability to pay. Many of the mammograms are paid for through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program or the Breast Cancer Awareness of the Cumberland Valley.

"Information is a crucial tool in the fight against breast cancer," Hanson says. Women who are educated in the steps to detect breast cancer early, if diagnosed with breast cancer, tend to understand their treatment options, participate in their care and can increase their chances to be cured.

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