For three days in October, a team of MIT Medical clinicians and staff members marked Breast Cancer Awareness Month with an interactive educational event for members of the MIT community.
At a table in the E25 atrium, the group offered flyers and pamphlets along with the opportunity to learn proper breast self-examination techniques using model breasts complete with hidden lumps.
MIT Medical staff members also scheduled mammograms on the spot. “Anyone who has medical insurance through MIT can get a mammogram at MIT Medical,” emphasizes Chief Radiologic Technologist Lisa Owens. R.T., “even if your primary care provider is not at MIT Medical.” More than a dozen women who visited the table signed up for mammogram appointments.
“Our goal was to provide information and to increase awareness,” says Owens of the event. “Because prognosis is so much better with early detection, we wanted to make people aware of the preventative measures they can take.”
That sentiment was echoed by Diane Magnuson, MIT Medical’s manager of diversity and inclusion. “We want to stress the importance of women taking care of themselves. We are often in the role of taking care of others, but we need to take care of ourselves, too.”
From Oct. 22 through Oct. 24, Owens reports that the team passed out several hundred pamphlets and brochures and provided self-examination training to more than 50 women. What’s more, dozens of women and men took the opportunity to share their survival stories or recount their experience watching a loved one battle breast cancer.
“The event served as a release valve for people,” Magnuson says. “It was a wonderful outlet for people to tell us their stories.”
If you missed the event, you can schedule a mammogram by calling 617-253-4905. Contact your primary care provider to learn more about how to perform breast self-examinations. And if you have any questions about breast cancer, its prevention or its detection, please visit the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer awareness webpage.