October 8, 2010


COLUMBIA, Tenn. — According to The American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. A woman has a one in seven chance of having breast cancer some time in her life. During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) emphasizes the importance of early detection and offers a free gift to women who receive a mammogram during October.

“The goal of screening exams for early breast cancer detection is to find cancers before they start to cause symptoms. Following the American Cancer Society's guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer by being screened each year after age 40 improves the chances that breast cancer can be diagnosed at an early stage and treated successfully,” said Dana Salters, women’s center coordinator at MRMC.

Although widespread use of screening mammograms has increased the number of breast cancers found before they cause any symptoms, women as young as 20 are encouraged to perform self-exams at home between screenings. Women should be aware of how their breasts normally look and feel and report any new breast changes to a health professional as soon as they are found.

When conducting a self-exam, consider the following:

  • Any new, hard lump or thickening in any part of the breast
  • Change in breast size or shape
  • Dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • Swelling, redness or warmth that does not go away
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • A nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)


The American Cancer Society states that early detection tests for breast cancer save many thousands of lives each year, and that many more lives could be saved if more women took advantage of early detection mammograms. MRMC offers digital mammography, which has proven to detect more cancers than film mammography, especially in women age 50 and younger and women with dense breasts. Screening mammograms may be performed without a physician’s order. Services are available at the Women’s Center at MRMC and Spring Hill Imaging Center. For more information or to schedule an appointment at the Women’s Center, call 931.380.4044. To schedule an appointment at the Spring Hill Imaging Center, call 931.486.3425 or 615.794.7922.