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



Skin Cancer Screenings for a More Prepared, Healthy You

Skin Cancer: More Likely than All Other Cancers Combined

When Madison School District invited local health care providers to offer screenings at the upcoming Community Wellness Fair, Brett Bagley, PA-C and owner of Fall Creek Skin and Health,  jumped at the chance. He wants people to understand that the survival rate for melanoma skin cancer is nearly 98 percent. He wants people to get screenings because screenings save lives.

Health care professionals didn’t understand skin cancer nearly as well back in 1979 when Randall Raschke thought nothing of the lesion next to his eye. Even when it grew large enough for him to feel every time he blinked, he wasn’t worried.  Lacking modern technology and levels of training, Raschke’s dermatologist didn’t even feel the lesion needed to be studied further after he removed it in a standard procedure.

It wasn’t until a year later when other health issues began to arise that Raschke was diagnosed with basal cell nevus syndrome. The growth his doctor had removed was likely basal cell carcinoma, more commonly known as skin cancer.

Fortunately, in the nearly 40 years since Raschke’s diagnosis, knowledge about skin cancer, how to recognize it, and how to treat it has grown tremendously.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “Skin cancer is the uncontrollable growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.”

There are different types of skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, while melanoma accounts for a small fraction of overall skin cancer cases, it is the cause of the majority of deaths. In fact, approximately one person dies of melanoma every hour nationwide.

Like with many medical issues however, preventive measures can greatly decrease the risk for and increase the prognosis of patients. Self-examinations, explained further here, daily use of SPF 15+ sunscreen, and skin cancer screenings are three simple ways of minimizing risk. Join Brett Bagley on Friday, May 12, at the Madison Community Health and Wellness Fair at Madison Junior High School to take your first step toward prevention and early detection with a free skin cancer screening.
Karl Raschke

Organizational Communication and Advocacy major at BYU-Idaho

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


Karl’s Screening Experience

Why Screening?

I was preparing for my wedding four years ago, I began to experience mild numbness and tingling in my hands. The sensation wouldn’t dissipate, and coworkers’ opinions and stories about conditions such as diabetes and heart disease weren’t helping. The longer the numbness lasted, the greater my anxiety grew. Was something seriously wrong? Would the happy future I was envisioning as my wedding date drew closer be compromised by a health condition of which I was unaware?

Had I not been experiencing intense uncertainty, I probably wouldn’t have cared that my office was offering biometric screenings for all employees. But health was on my mind, and my worries drove me to set an appointment. The screening was surprisingly short and simple.  It was painless. Taken together, the questions and general procedures I completed lasted no more than 15 minutes. The results, however, brought lasting peace of mind.

Screenings are about timing. Sadly, too many Americans recognize the value of screenings only after being diagnosed with a late-stage illness. Up to half of all premature or early deaths in the United States are due to preventable factors, according to a report by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Prevention often depends on early detection, and early detection often depends on screenings.

My own experience with screenings has increased my awareness of their importance and my gratitude for the local health care establishments that promote them. At the Madison Community Wellness Fair, health care professionals will be available to provide information about screenings to men, women, and children at all stages of life. It took me fifteen minutes to ease months of worry—but that same fifteen minutes just as easily could have saved my life.

Click going below, and invite your friends!

Karl Raschke

Organizational Communication and Advocacy Major at BYU-Idaho

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