October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and as director of public health and clinical services for the Town of Winthrop, Meredith Hurley, RN had decided that if the Dana Farber Mammography Van was going to be in town giving mammograms, that she has better check things out.
“That was in 2014 when I was 36 years old,” Hurley said, even though the age guideline for screening was 40. Soon after her screen, Hurley’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 56. “Unbeknownst to me, which I had found out through my work with this, that another guideline is 20 years prior to your mother’s diagnosis. If this is the case you can be screened.”
“I was just testing out the van,” Hurley joked.
Hurley’s results would impact herself, her mother and potentially her children.
“Two days later they called and say they found something on the mammogram and that I needed to go back for further testing. Luckily, it was not cancer but what they did find was atypical hyperplasia.”
Atypical hyperplasia makes her risk for breast cancer four times higher than the average woman. Because of her results she was linked in to a prevention program at Brigham and Women’s for six-month screenings, and meetings with a small team of doctors and a radiologist who are keeping an eye on things.
Locally, Survivors by the Sea, a support group in Winthrop, did their own little poll and found that 63 percent found out about their cancer with a mammogram.
“Ten percent of the women being diagnosed are under the age of 45,” Hurley said, adding she has known several diagnosed with breast cancer from a routine mammogram.
The mammography van is coming to Winthrop, Tuesday, Oct. 15 in the parking lot at the Larson Rink on Pauline Street from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
You must pre-register by calling Dana Farber at 617-632-1974. Hurley is available for questions at 617-846-1882 x1061.
#Love the Ladies Winthrop will provide food and wellness activities.
Winthrop Police, in recent years, have become proponents for mammography and the elimination of breast cancer. Last year the department conducted a T-shirt drive that raised money for Survivors by the Sea and the Marie C. Petrilli Foundation. This year, the department is partnering with Public Health and Survivors by the Sea to bring awareness to the importance of mammograms and early detection.