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Area breast cancer education events offer weekend of awareness

POSTED: April 21, 2014 12:09 a.m.

Two area events this weekend are striving to provide free education and awareness on breast cancer.

The disease affects the lives of numerous people every year. If you haven’t been diagnosed, chances are high you know someone who has.

On Saturday, a mobile mammography center will visit Gainesville at the Belk department store in Lakeshore Mall to offer free mammogram screenings.

BelkGives on the Go, the campaign behind the 39-foot-long mobile screening center, launched last year in January in partnership with Charlotte Radiology, and has served more than 4,500 women and detected 14 cases of cancer across the Southeast.

To be eligible for an appointment for a screening, women must be age 40 or older and have no breast concerns, have not had a mammogram in the last 12 months and must have a primary care physician.

Screenings are performed by licensed mammography-certified technologists, and mammograms are interpreted by a board-certified radiologist. Results will be sent to both the patient and her primary care physician.

Belk’s intimate apparel department is offering complimentary bra fittings for women following their mammogram appointments.

The center will be at Belk, 150 Pearl Nix Parkway in Gainesville, from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 855-655-BMMC (2662) or visit belk.com/pink.

On Sunday, the Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, a nonprofit organization, will offer “The Faces of Breast Cancer,” a free workshop to explain the basics of the disease.

The coalition focuses primarily on education and advocacy, and was able to establish the workshops via funds from a grant.

Led by trained advocates of breast cancer awareness and an oncology nurse practitioner, the workshop is aiming to educate attendees on all aspects of the disease, including common misconceptions and myths and practicing healthy lifestyle choices to help prevent it.

“We wanted to get all women and just talk about lifestyle choices that can help promote good breast health,” Executive Director Amy Upchurch said. “We talk a lot about myths and misconceptions — everything from wearing an underwire bra to drinking coffee to antiperspirant.”

Hall County was chosen as one of 10 locations for the workshop.

“We picked different counties throughout the state that we felt we hadn’t (interacted) with recently, or where there was a larger underserved, maybe under(insured) or uninsured population that could really, truly benefit,” Upchurch said.

“We also have a good relationship with the health department and a contact at The Longstreet Clinic,” she said.

“After talking with both of those different entities (about the county’s needs), we felt it would be a great county for us to concentrate on.”

Upchurch said the workshop strives to reach women who have not had a diagnosis but may be potentially at higher risk, or those who don’t have the tools, resources or knowledge base regarding the disease.

The response from earlier events has been positive.

“Every single time, the people that have attended have been so thankful for the information and so excited to gain that knowledge,” she said. “It’s been so wonderful and positive.”

The workshop takes place from 1-3 p.m. Sunday at the District 2 Public Health Office, 1280 Athens St. in Gainesville.

Lunch will be provided, but space is limited and registration is required. For the organization to determine the amount of food and materials for the workshop, people should register by Friday.

To register, call 404-633-6499. For more information about the Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, visit gabcc.org.


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