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Early detection focus of Vidant awareness events

The Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center, Vidant Beaufort Hospital and its physician partners are celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a series of events designed to share the message about the power of early detection.

“Statistics show the quicker a cancer is detected, the better the outcome for the patient,” said Jennifer Lewis, Vidant Beaufort Hospital’s community health improvement coordinator.

First is “Lunch and Learn” on Wednesday at Grub Brothers Eatery in downtown Washington, an event where Dr. Daniel Richardson will speak about detection and breast cancer survivor Avery Parker will talk about her own experience with breast cancer, which was discovered at the free screening in Belhaven last year, Lewis said.

Free clinical breast exams will be held in Washington and Belhaven later in the month. Oct. 26, from 9 a.m. to noon, Vidant Breast Clinic in Washington will be open for the free exams. Oct. 29, from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Vidant Multispecialty Clinic in Belhaven will be hosting the same. Richardson and other Vidant providers trained to recognize abnormalities and warning signs of breast cancer will be performing the exams.

“Anyone is welcome to go, whether you have insurance or not — it doesn’t matter. It’s a free clinical breast exam. There’s no right or wrong person that can go to these screenings. If you’ve got something you’re concerned about; if you haven’t been checked in a while, it would be a great opportunity to pop in and get checked. It should only take about 10 minutes,” Lewis said.

Lewis said if an issue is detected, and a follow-up mammogram necessary, a representative there from the Beaufort County Health Department will walk participants through the process of getting a mammogram at a reduced, or even free, rate.

While October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Lewis said Vidant is now trying to keep the early detection message on people’s minds all year.

“Our goal is this: to make it not just an October thing, but an every month thing,” Lewis said.

Vidant Breast Clinic is located at 615 E. 12th St., Washington; Vidant Multispecialty Clinic-Belhaven, is located at 598 W. Old County Road, Belhaven.