Breast Cancer Awareness Month

TR Staff
Staff Writer

By Ellie Boese
Pink ribbons sewn onto baseball jerseys, pink cleats on football fields, pink spotlights climbing the bricks of Fargo’s Sanford hospital––October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, turning a lot of the country pink.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, according to The National Breast Cancer Foundation. 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes.
Additional risk factors for developing breast cancer include being female, 50 or older, having a personal or family history with breast cancer, taking hormone replacement therapy for more than five years, or having the genetic mutation of the genes BRCA 1 and 2. The American Cancer Society says smoking, obesity, inactivity, and alcohol consumption can also increase an individual’s risk.
Though all of that might feel overwhelming, there are effective steps to protect yourself. Here are some ways to increase the chances of detecting breast cancer early:
Look for physical signs and symptoms, including change in skin color or texture (redness, rash, or orange peel appearance), changes in size or shape of the breast (swelling, dimpling or puckering), changes in appearance of the nipple, unusual discharge, or a lump or thickening in or near the breast or underarms.
Beyond that, individuals should also perform regular self-breast exams and schedule regular clinical exams as recommended by a health-care provider.
Receiving regular clinical breast exams and routine mammograms are another big part of early detection. According to the North Dakota Department of Health, a mammogram can detect breast cancer two to three years before a lump is found.
There are great resources to protect your health right here, in this area: In Valley City, CHI Mercy Hospital offers one important service to help detect breast cancer early, but it’s not widely known in the community. Barbara Waite-Clark, a Mammographer and Radiologic Technologist at CHI, wants to see that change.
“Not too many people know we do mammograms right here,” she said. “We have the latest in digital technology right here in this hospital, and it’s a lot more comfortable and personable right here.”
Mercy has all-digital equipment, and large and private rooms handicap accessible. Laboratory and Radiology Manager Susan Kringlie wants the community to know about the Breast Cancer Awareness/prevention services available locally.
“We partner with DMS Technologies to provide Mammography screening and diagnostic exams,” she said. “We offer supportive infusion therapy for patients receiving chemotherapy, through our Ambulatory Care Services.”
A state-of-the-art facility in Jamestown will provide vital health services close to home as well. Jamestown Regional Medical Center began construction of their Cancer Center facility on Oct. 1. The Cancer Center will offer tremendous benefits for the community, with the ability to provide premier care for those seeking preventative care or receiving treatment for breast or other types of cancer. When completed, the Cancer Center will have eight chemotherapy infusion rooms, with the ability to serve more than 100 people a month––a close-to-home option for medical care.
Some of the services the Jamestown Cancer Center will provide now exist only as near as Bismarck and Fargo, and JRMC predicts that having a regional cancer center will save patients upwards of 160,000 miles of travel annually. Both Mercy and JRMC provide important care that women (and men, though in smaller numbers) need to prevent, diagnose, and treat breast cancer.
Trisha Jungels, JRMC’s Chief Nursing Officer and Interim Chief Executive officer, recognizes that the community made the cancer center possible, the same community that the center will serve.
“This is a great day for Jamestown and the surrounding communities,” Jungels said. “Miles matter when you’re sick. We thank the community for helping us bring state-of-the-art cancer care close to home.”
Lisa Jackson, JRMC Foundation Director, agrees and is grateful for the support.
“Whether it was lemonade stands, t-shirt sales or gifting retirement accounts, the community made this happen,” she said. “The community has supported JRMC since we opened our doors almost 90 years ago.”
Wearing pink to raise awareness is one big step, seeing your doctor and supporting those around us to keep our health in check is another.
Remember, even if your insurance doesn’t cover any or all of a mammogram and/or other preventative services, Women’s Way, a cervical and breast cancer early detection program, works to provide those funds for women in need. Call 1-800-44Woman or 701-328-2306 or visit to see if you are eligible and to learn more about the program.
You can also call CHI Mercy’s radiology department at 701-845-6441 or JRMC 701-952-1050 for more information.
Take care of yourself, this month and always.