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Valdosta Paints the Town Pink

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October 16, 2006

Valdosta - Breast Cancer is the most deadly cancer among women after Lung cancer.  Chances of recovery are much better if it's detected early, so one South Georgia Health Center is taking proactive steps to promote awareness.

Kim Rowell has always been proactive about her health, making sure to keep annual doctor appointments.  Luckily she took her health into her own hands by doing monthly self breast exams.

In 2003 she noticed a lump in her breast which was diagnosed as breast cancer.  "I felt a lump and I knew what it was.  It was cancer," Rowell says.

After 8 sessions of chemotherapy and 35 radiation treatments, she's now in remission.  But she has not doubt early detection of her cancer helped save her life.  "I know early detection gives you the best chance for survival and I'm really glad I did," she adds.

Over 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, most of whom will join Kim as breast cancer survivors.  But almost one forth of those women will not be so lucky.  "Out of those two-hundred thousand, it's predicted that 40 thousand of those women will die because of breast cancer," says Valorie Swinson, Community Health Promotions Coordinator for SGMC.

In an effort to decrease these numbers, South Georgia Medical Center and the South Health District have begun their annual Paint the Town Pink Campaign with free cancer screenings.  "What we are doing with our breast cancer screening is trying to get early detection to get those women checked so we can actually lower that number," says Swinson.

SGMC and cancer survivors like Kim hope the awareness campaign will motivate women to get yearly exams and learn the necessary steps to prevent cancer.

They will be offering free breast exams and cancer education at the Pearlman Cancer Center October 17th and 19th from 5 to 7 PM.

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Mayor John Fretti and 250 other mayors have declared October 20th National Mammography Day.

Mayor Fretti says government should do its part to raise awareness and promote early detection.  "People think, well, it will never happen to me and everyone has to truly think that we need to detect it early and keep it in our minds," Fretti said. 

Mayor Fretti and other city officials are encouraging all women to take advantage of the free health screenings that will be offered this week at the South Georgia Medical Center's Pearlman Cancer Center.

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