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Raising awareness for breast cancer

National Cancer Survivors Day: Sunday, June 7

National Cancer Survivors Day is an annual worldwide Celebration of Life that is held on the first Sunday in June. It is a day to recognize cancer survivors, raise awareness of the ongoing challenges cancer survivors face because of their disease, and. most importantly, celebrate life.

Due to COVID-19, many of the public events scheduled to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day have been canceled, including the annual SNMH Community Cancer Center Survivors Picnic. However, that doesn’t mean that the celebration is canceled. You can connect with cancer survivors and supporters around the world by using the hashtag #NCSD2020 and following National Cancer Survivors Day on Facebook (Facebook.com/CancerSurvivorsDay), Instagram (@cancersurvivorsday), and Twitter (@survivorsday).

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month! Launched in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries, breast cancer survivor and former first lady Betty Ford kicked-off the event.

The initial goal was to increase attention and support for early detection, prevention and treatment by encouraging women to take charge of their breast health. An objective was the promotion of mammograms as the most viable option in the fight against breast cancer.

Many recognize the little pink ribbon we associate with breast cancer, yet many don’t know its origin. Estee Lauder cosmetics handed out the first pink ribbons in 1992 reaching an impressive 1.5 million people. The NFL has become one of the largest supporters of Breast Cancer Awareness month with nearly all players, coaches and referees donning the pink ribbon each October.



According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, in 2020 an estimated 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer as well as 48,530 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in the US. Non-invasive breast cancer is detected while still contained in the breasts milk ducts or lobules, however it can change to invasive as it grows. Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital administers approximately 4,000 mammograms annually and treated 86 new breast cancer patients last year.

Screening continues to be the best preventive measure for early detection because breast cancer typically has no symptoms when the tumor is small. The most common symptom is the discovery of a change in the breast tissue which can be a soft lump, hard knot, or any difference in appearance or texture. Itching or redness can be an indicator of inflammatory breast cancer. Lymph nodes under the arm can block and alter the flow of fluids resulting in swelling.



It is important for women to regularly do a breast self-exam. There are also less obvious signs that can indicate a wide variety of health concerns, breast cancer among them. These include insomnia, fatigue, digestive problems, shortness of breath and difficulty walking or sitting.

On their own, these symptoms are not likely serious, however, if persistent or recognized along with other symptoms, these should be brought to the attention of your physician. And let’s not forget, while it isn’t common for men to get breast cancer, it carries a higher mortality rate and should be diagnosed as early as possible.

“The SNMH Women’s Imaging Center provides state-of-the-art technology, a comfortable setting and has incredible success with early detection,” stated Josh Crisosto, Manager of SNMH Diagnostic Imaging and Radiation Oncology. “Our specialties include mammography, breast MRI, stereotactic biopsy, ultrasound and more. In addition, we have a nurse navigator available to meet with patients as requested.”

SNMH Foundation is raising money to support preventative breast care measures such as mammograms. This month Nevada County Law Enforcement is sporting pink patches to raise awareness. In July they also held a contest to design a 2020 Pink Patch Project Challenge Coin.

Beautiful coins and patches are available at Nevada County Law Enforcement offices and SNMH Foundation. Patches are $10 each or $35 for a four pack (Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada County Police Department, Truckee Police Department and Grass Valley Police Department). Coins are $20 each or a mega pack is $50.

Another amazing project is being spearheaded by Kim Carnahan and a team of mask makers creating various designs for breast cancer month. Masks are $10 and can be purchased at the SNMH Foundation office.

With the canceling of the SNMH Foundation’s BSM Women’s Triathlon and 5K in September, proceeds will be directed to helping those who cannot afford to get their annual mammogram.

Patches, coins, and masks are available at SNMH Foundation, 140 Litton Drive, Suite 220, Grass Valley. Please mail donations to SNMHF, PO BOX 1810, Grass Valley, CA 95945; go online at www. supportsierranevada.org; or call 530-477-9700.

With your support we can show every woman that her life is important. Working together we can inspire hope and become a force to catch breast cancer at its earliest stages.


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