breast cancer, mammograms, mother, daughter, over 40, 40

Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer: There is Hope

It all started with a lump. 

While performing a routine self breast exam, Heather Bagley’s mother experienced what every woman dreads. Finding a lump can terrify a woman for obvious reasons. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer for women. Prospects of surgery, radically altered body image, and changes in personal relationships can all be daunting. In part because of those fears, too many women don’t perform self exams or get regular mammograms after age 40.

Unfortunately, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Health care specialists at Teton Radiology and Madison Memorial Hospital wish women would realize the magnitude of that mistake because it has a direct impact on survival rates. 

Cancer survival rates are frequently measured in increments of five years. For example, an 80 percent 5-year survival rate would mean that five years after diagnosis, 80 out of 100 patients are still living.  According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer, when detected in its early stages, has over a 90 percent survival rate.

The high survival rates are hopeful, but that doesn’t make being diagnosed any simpler. And when a woman has breast cancer, everyone connected to her feels the jolt. 

“I remember being stunned. We all were. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, am I going to lose my mom?’” Heather recalls.  “I’m not even sure how routinely she had done self-examinations.” Heather’s mother was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer and has been courageously battling ever since. 

Nearly three million American woman are breast cancer survivors, and the survival rates have been climbing since the 1990s.  Awareness and early detection are a critical part of that progress. Madison Memorial wants to contribute to that trend. Having recently partnered with Huntsman Cancer Institute, MMH is now positioned to provide women with excellent care and advanced resources.  

Karl Raschke

Organizational Communication and Advocacy Major at BYU-Idaho

 

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postpartum, postpartum depression, post partum, post partum depression, mother, child

Postpartum Depression: Not a Character Flaw

Postpartum Depression

When one considers the happiness and excitement of the birth of a child, there usually aren’t expectations of doubt and sadness along with these positive emotions. However, that is what Sally felt.

According to Sally, “When I recapped all the times I could recall myself crying, it was quite often. I would just have, I guess, emotional breakdowns for no apparent reason.”

Postpartum depression (PPD) is depression which arises after birth and affects approximately one in nine women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While it is a prevalent issue, PPD is treatable with medication, counseling and/or other effective treatments prescribed by a health care provider.

A critical issue with PPD, however, is that it is often left untreated. This may be due to the mother believing her negative feelings will abate over time or due to improper interpersonal communication where support is not given.

If PPD is left untreated, it can last for months or even years. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, along with a woman’s physical health, it may hinder the mother from connecting and caring for her baby, which could lead to a host of health issues for the infant.

According to Sally, “If I wouldn’t have spoken out about what I was feeling, I probably wouldn’t know that I had a problem or that I had something that I could get support for.”

The start of medical support can begin at the Madison Community Wellness Fair at Madison Junior High School. It will be on Friday, May 12, from 2 PM to 8 PM, and will offer many free screenings on health issues like depression. Like Sally’s story shows, treatment starts by knowing where to ask for it.

(Name has been changed for confidentiality).

Karl Raschke

Organizational Communication and Advocacy Major at BYU-Idaho

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