Letters to the Editor: Detection a must in beating breast caner

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dear Editor,

My name is Sylvia Byrd and I am a breast cancer survivor!

It all began in August 2006 when I received a reminder from Shelby Baptist Medical Center that it was time to have my routine mammogram.

I was hesitant to go for the test because I had just has a PET Scan that confirmed once again that I was &8220;cancer free.&8221; I am eighteen months into remission from a prior diagnosis of bladder cancer.

However, my daughter is a nurse and strongly encouraged me to go ahead and have the mammogram anyway.

They now have a digital mammogram machine at Shelby Baptist Medical Center; this meant the test wouldn’t be as painful as it had been in the past.

Within the next week, I was called back for another mammogram and an ultrasound, and then came the biopsy.

Within two weeks I was diagnosed with breast cancer and scheduled for a surgery.

I am so thankful that I went through with all of these tests, although I was hesitant because I have had three benign breast biopsies in the past and I had not even felt a lump.

The wonderful thing about this entire situation is that my cancer was caught early and it had not even made it into my lymph nodes.

Early detection of this disease will save lives.

I encourage everyone to perform monthly breast exams and when appropriate, have annual mammograms.

It is so important to follow any abnormal finding closely, and always remember that just because a lump has been &uot;okay&uot; in the past doesn’t mean it will be in time.

Breast Cancer does not discriminate by age or gender.

In fact, about 1,700 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

Most insurance companies will cover traditional mammogram exams, however, there is help for those who do not have insurance.

Contact the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for details and locations of facilities that participate in these free of low cost screenings.

The local Komen Foundation office can be reached by calling 930-8886 or going online to www.KomenAlabama.org.

Sylvia Byrd,