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Survivor offers seminar on breast health, cancer

By Staff | Oct 7, 2009

The statistics are staggering: Every two minutes, a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer. Every 14 minutes, a woman dies from breast cancer, which is the leading cause of death for women age 40 to 55.

Mary Ann Loh, a volunteer who serves as the Education Chair for the Southwest Florida Affiliate of Susan G. Komen For The Cure, was the guest speaker at Tuesday’s breast cancer awareness seminar held prior to the City Council meeting at City Hall.

“Breast cancer is not something that we cause ourselves,” she said. “There’s just no rhyme or reason for it. We all know that being a smoker can bring on lung cancer, but there’s nothing that women or men do to bring on breast cancer.”

Loh, a Sanibel resident, has a master’s degree in Nursing and has spent her entire career providing health education. As an educator, she spends much of her free time dedicated to providing information to individuals and groups about breast cancer, breast health, medical treatments and mammograms.

Each attendee at the seminar received a packet containing vital information on the topic, which is given special recognition throughout the U.S. during the month of October. The packet included:

Susan G. Komen For The Cure – A tri-fold brochure containing details about breast health awareness, education and outreach, volunteer opportunities and local and national information resources.

Steps To Breast Self-Examination – A shower hang-tag describing how to perform a self-examination, warning signs and punch-out dots for each month.

Men Can Get Breast Cancer – A tri-fold brochure pointing out the risks, warning signs, testing and treatment options available for men.

Breast Health: What Every Woman Should Know – A 24-page book containing valuable information -in easy-to-understand text and graphics – which covers everything from breast health basics, cancer facts, diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds and MRIs, support and resources.

The kit also contained a stick-on pink ribbon, the universal symbol for breast cancer awareness, and a Race For The Cure magnet, promoting the March 13, 2010 race/walk event to be held at Coconut Point in Estero.

Loh described what warning signs to look for when performing a self-exam. They include lumps or knots, swelling warmth or redness of the tissue, changes in size or shape, dimpling or puckering of the skin, rash around the nipple area and unusual pain that does not go away.

In addition, Loh noted that women above the age of 40 should have a yearly clinical breast exam, and that women between 20 and 39 should attend a doctor examination every three years.

“I thought she gave a great presentation,” said Sandi McDougall, an employee of the Sanibel Senior Center and breast cancer survivor for 16 years. “Knowledge is power. The more you know about breast cancer, the better you’ll be prepared.”

For additional information or to learn more about breast cancer and/or Susan G. Komen For The Cure, visit www.komen.org or call 1-800-GO-KOMEN. To contact the Southwest Florida Affiliate of Susan G. Komen For The Cure, located in Bonita Springs, call 239-498-0016 or e-mail info@komenswfl.org.