“I didn’t have cancer when we did this the first time,” said Sylvia Cornett of Pell City, one of 25 breast cancer survivors who will be recognized at Thursday’s Fourth Annual Pink Hair Party.
The fundraiser event, which helps kick off Pink October or National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is from 5-7 p.m., at the Horizons’ Clubhouse in Pell City. It is one of many special events to help shine light and help raise money in the fight against a form of cancer that kills thousands of people each year, both men and women.
Cornett said her mother and grandmother were diagnosed with breast cancer, so she knew her risk of breast cancer was high.
During self-examination, Cornett found a lump in her breast. She was later diagnosed with breast cancer.
“They say I am cancer free because I caught it so early,” Cornett said.
Cornett did not have to have chemotherapy, but only radiation treatments, 36 treatments in all. .
“That was enough,” she said. “I had to go everyday. You had to have a certain amount of radiation everyday.”
Cornett said women need to be vigilant, and to frequently do self-examinations.
“I had a mammogram nine months before I found it. Self-examination is very important.”
According to the American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates in 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer was expected to be diagnosed among women. Approximately 39,520 were expected to die from breast cancer,. Only lung cancer accounts for more cancer deaths in women.
Eight local women who lost their battle to breast cancer are expected to be remembered and honored at Thursday’s survivor’s celebration in Pell City, said Deanna Lawley of Pell City, one of the organizers of the event.
But many more will celebrate life, like Cindy Goodgame who has been cancer free since she was diagnosed with breast cancer 18 years ago.
“It was caught early,” she said.
Her cancer was discovered through a mammogram.
“It was devastating,” she said.
It was the unknown that was the hardest part of the experience 18 years ago, but Goodgame said she feels fortunate that her cancer was discovered early.
“The key is early detection,” she said. “I don’t miss a mammogram.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, regular mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt.
In conjunction with the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital in Pell City, along with other hospitals in the St. Vincent’s Health System, are offering mammograms at a reduced price.
“It is our mission to keep people healthy as much as it is to treat individuals who are sick,” said John O’Neil, St. Vincent’s Health System President and CEO. “Each year our October mammography special helps women to schedule screenings so that any breast cancer may be caught early, when it is most curable. Through this and a variety of Women’s Services, we hope to encourage women to appropriately include mammography and self-exams as a part of their personal wellness efforts.”
Goodgame said because she was diagnosed with breast cancer, her daughter Blair will have to be that much more aware of the disease.
According to the CDC, family health history is an important factor affecting a woman’s risk for developing breast cancer, and every woman should be aware of cancer in their family.
Generally, the more close relatives who have had breast cancer and the earlier their ages of diagnosis, the greater a woman’s risk.
Thursday’s Pink Hair Party, which will raise funds for breast cancer research, will include wine and cheese for guests. The event will feature a silent auction of gifts donated by local businesses and individuals.
Lawley said Marty Crews, founder and owner of Punks’s Gourmet Pepper Sauce in Ashville, will also attend the event. He lost his mother and two sisters to breast cancer. All three women would have celebrated their birthday Thursday.
“We are pretty involved in breast cancer awareness,” Crews said.
Crews said he plans to present special sauces and gifts to the 25 survivors who will be honored at the event Thursday.
Guests will also be able to sample Punk’s Smok’n Chicken Dip.
Lawley said donations made at the Pink Hair Party are tax deductible, since the event was certified by the American Cancer Society.
“We are glad to have anyone who is interested in supporting breast cancer research,” Lawley said.
For more information about Thursday’s fundraiser call Lawley at 205-338-7728.
In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Citizens Baptist Medical Center, in partnership with Birmingham Radiology Group (BRG), are also offering mammograms for $100 each Monday in October.
“Offering this Mammo Monday special is a way the hospital recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” said Larry Harris, director of imaging services for Citizens Baptist. “The Mammo Monday special makes it more affordable for women without insurance to get their initial mammogram.”
The American Cancer Society recommends that women over the age of 40 have a mammogram each year.
“We hope this program will encourage women to be proactive in their breast health,” Harris said. “With mammography, women can detect breast tumors up to two years before they can be felt in a self-examination, according to the American College of Radiology.”
Harris said patients do not need a physician referral to have the screening mammogram performed. The Citizens Baptist Mammography department offers women fast, comfortable and accurate breast cancer diagnosis using the latest technology in digital mammography.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Mammography Department at 256-761-4618.
For more information about mammograms at St. Vincent’s St. Clair Hospital call 205-814-2124.
Contact David Atchison at email@example.com