Women’s center offers mammograms for breast cancer awareness month

Shane Beneke

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer is also the most common cancer amongst older women.

Today marks the first day of October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

During this month, breast cancer charities around the world strive to increase awareness of the disease as well as raise funds for research towards the cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.

A variety of events go on around the country to promote this cause including the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure and the illumination of historic buildings in pink lighting.

From fashion shows to Zumbathon dance parties, to even lining the rails of the Cuyahoga River Bridge in Kent with bras, a number of Kent State organizations in the past have shown their support to bring awareness and find a cure for this disease.

One of the most popular events put on this month are the screening mammograms by the Women’s Health Center. The mammograms are offered to faculty and staff at DeWeese Health Center in both the fall and the spring from Oct. 6-8.

“This fall, we actually have 66 women scheduled to come in and arranged to have their mammograms done,” said Jenna Brinker, a graduate assistant at the Women’s Center.

The screenings have moved to the health center this year, a step up from last year where a mobile screening service came and performed mammograms at the Women’s Center.

“It’s exciting that we can have this service done on campus. It feels great to have that collaboration. It’s good to have our faces at the health center,” Brinker said. “We try to champion for women’s health, so it’s a nice overlap for the both of us.”

The new location does have more advantages than just getting the Women’s Center’s image out in the public.

“One thing about changing it to the health center is that it’s digital, so it’s an upgrade. Now it’s state of the art, kind of where the best practice is for mammograms,” said Cassie Pegg-Kirby, assistant director at the Women’s Center.

Pegg-Kirby also noted how popular the program has become. This year was the first time the program had a wait list due to the high amount of participation and they are considering adding an extra day of screenings for the spring event.

Brinker said that many women who come in for screenings are not regularly getting mammograms, which can be used to early detect breast cancer and ultimately increase survival rates.

“We have a lot of women that will say I haven’t had my mammogram done in three or four years when it’s something that should be done more regularly. So by having this service we’re increasing accessibility for a lot of women who wouldn’t go out and have this done,” Brinker said.

Pegg-Kirby added that while the test is not usually the first thing on people’s minds when it comes to breast cancer, it has the potential to be lifesaving.

“It’s 15 minutes. It’s not something people look forward to doing but it’s very important,” she said.

Shane Beneke is the health reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]