SPRINGFIELD — Learning carried more weight than the other components of an annual event designed to promote breast cancer awareness.
Thursday’s Lunch, Laugh and Learn at The Local on Laurel featured a panel of women’s health specialists, including Lori Gaylor (PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA), Rhonda Jones (FNP-BC), Kristal Jaster (PA) and Stephanie Reese (DO).
“It’s your chance to ask questions about breast health, OB-GYN, diabetes as it relates to breast cancer and even orthopedics as it relates to women’s issues,” emcee Mari Carswell said.
Audience members submitted questions via a card that Carswell read to the panelists.
Prior to the question-and-answer session, Carswell introduced Margie Singleton.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer following a trio of 3D mammograms that didn’t detect the disease, Singleton, an Effingham County native, set out to make sure that other women don’t suffer the same fate. Singleton’s cancer was discovered by ultrasound the same day two mammograms missed it because of her dense breast tissue.
Starting in 2017, she fought for legislation that would require mammography providers to notify women if they have dense breast tissue that makes mammograms unreliable.
Singleton’s dream became a reality May 2 when Gov. Brian Kemp signed House Bill 62, known as “Margie’s Law.”
“Make sure you give yourself a breast exam,” she said. “Know your breasts. Do your mammogram.
“Early detection, as (Carswell) stated earlier, is so very key.”
“The only way you will ever know you have dense breast tissue is to have a mammogram,” Singleton said later.
At the start of the event, the hospital honored Margie Sullivan. The Effingham Hospital Auxiliary member is the only volunteer who has been with the hospital since it opened in 1969.
“I would like to commend not only the (breast cancer) survivors but I would like for us to take just a short minute to remember those who are not with us who were not survivors,” she said before saying a blessing.
Every member of the audience was encouraged to schedule a mammography at Effingham Health System. The hospital makes 3-D technology available without an additional cost.
3-D mammograms are 40 percent more accurate than regular mammograms.