Father and daughter promote mammograms

Photo courtesy of Peter Foulds

Bikers visiting Port Dover on Friday the 13th encouraged to stop by the Regional Cancer Program booth for cancer screening info and giveaways.

Lissa Hill is a busy fashion designer whose Hamilton-based company specializes in quality leather wear for motorcycle enthusiasts. In spite of her demanding schedule, Lissa makes time for her health, including having a mammogram as part of her routine medical care.

“My mother passed away from breast cancer 17 years ago so prevention and early detection are high priorities for me,” says Lissa, who together with her dad Fred Hill of Port Dover is helping spread the word about October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the importance of mammograms as part of a woman’s routine medical care.

They’re also encouraging fellow riders to visit the Regional Cancer Program’s booth at Port Dover’s Friday the 13th event for cancer screening information and giveaways.

Women between the ages of 50 to 74 with no signs of breast cancer are encouraged to have a free mammogram every two years through the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP). Mammograms can find breast cancer when it’s small, less likely to have spread and easier to treat.

It’s recommended that these women get a mammogram every two years since early detection through mammography can result in significant health benefits including increased treatment options and better survival rates. Lissa began regular screening before the recommended age due to her family history. Anyone with concerns about a family history of breast cancer should talk to their healthcare provider.

“I was hesitant to start screening because I was afraid something might be found,” said Lissa. “But I pushed past this fear because mammograms can find cancer in its early stages.”

Lissa’s mother had mammograms, but not as often as recommended. She saw her doctor after finding lumps in her armpits when the cancer had spread.

While breast cancer is easier to treat when caught early, only 63 percent of women in this region are getting screened through the OBSP, according to the Regional Cancer Program, which serves Burlington, Hamilton, Niagara, Brant, Haldimand, and Norfolk.

However, once women start screening through the OBSP, they tend to return. The OBSP helps them stay up-to-date by sending reminder letters when they’re due for their next screening.

The Regional Cancer Program encourages women to start screening with the OBSP as soon as they turn 50. Women can book their own OBSP appointment or go through their healthcare provider. For OBSP locations, visit hnhbscreenforlife.ca.