Breast cancer awareness a top priority for this area

Published 6:05 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and medical providers have plenty planned to raise awareness, and more importantly, save lives.

One of these planned activities is a free clinical breast exam for women through Vidant Beaufort Hospital. During these exams, breast specialists will check for lumps or other physical changes that may be abnormal and require attention.

The breast exams are free, and the only requirement is for those interested to register. It’s all part of Vidant’s “Living Pink” campaign through the month of October.

The clinical exams are scheduled for:

  • Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon, at Vidant Women’s Care, 1204 Brown St., Washington
  • Oct. 26, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at Vidant Multispecialty Clinic, 598 W. Old County Road, Belhaven

Early detection of abnormalities, as may take place at a breast exam, is a woman’s best chance for survival. The earlier the cancer is found, the more treatable it will be, according to Dr. Brenda Peacock with Vidant Women’s Care in Washington.

“The goal of any screening regimen is to detect early disease in an otherwise healthy patient, to prevent adverse outcomes if possible, improve survival rates and decrease the need for more aggressive treatment or intervention required with later diagnosis,” Peacock wrote. “There has been a significant decrease in mortality over the past 25 years, with five-year survival rates now about 90 percent, because of early detection and increased screening.”

Pam Shadle, manager of marketing and public relations at Vidant Beaufort, said if the free exams saved even just one life, it would be considered a success.

“We do this because it does save lives. We have caught cancer in people year after year after year,” Shadle said. “It’s so important.”

This Friday, various businesses around town will encourage employees to don pink T-shirts in honor of Paint the Town Pink, a nationwide fundraiser to support breast cancer research. Other businesses are planning to deck out their buildings with decorations for the occasion. The local campaign is in its ninth year.

Individual residents are also invited to purchase the T-shirts, and can do so at Vidant Beaufort’s gift shop, Eastern Radiologists, the Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center, Urgent Care Down East and Southern Tuck in Belhaven.

Tanya Dixon, with Eastern Radiologists, organizes the campaign locally, and proceeds from Paint the Town Pink will go to the Shepard Cancer Foundation.

Also on the schedule for this month is a “Pink Power” seminar next Tuesday featuring keynote speaker Sheri Prentiss, MD, MPH, an author and breast cancer survivor. Prentiss also founded the nonprofit LIVE-Today Foundation, which works to enhance the lives of cancer survivors.

Next Tuesday’s event is already sold out, according to Shadle.

For more information, or to register for a clinical exam, visit, or call toll free at 855-698-4326.