COUSHATTA, La. — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And each week KTBS is bringing attention to the cause.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the leading cause of cancer deaths in women. Prevention and detection are key in fighting the disease. That’s why Christus Health is bringing big city technology to rural communities like Coushatta.
Family history plays a role in breast cancer.
“People who do not breastfeed, obesity, smoking, all of those factors are linked with risk factors for breast cancer,” said Kayla Bryant, a board certified advanced practice nurse with Christus.
Prevention and early detection are vitally important.
“If breast cancer is caught or detected later, it typically is more lethal,” Bryant said.
Breast self awareness can save a woman’s life. A change in the breast can mean cancer.
“There’s many, many women who have fibrocystic breasts, so lots of little bitty cysts or lumps or bumps in those breasts,” explained Bryant. “But it’s a new or different mass or lump that you notice that’s typically the most common symptom of breast cancer.
Especially if it’s only on one side.
“That’s something that doesn’t go in pairs, normally,” she said.
Annual mammograms are key in catching those changes in the breast.
“Every woman starting at age 40, or sooner if she has any very specific family risk factors should get an annual mammogram,” said Bryant.
Many rural communities don’t typically have access to basic primary preventative health care. The Christus Coushatta clinic brings that care to the community.
“We see those patients who typically in the past have gotten left behind or almost forgotten about because they haven’t had the means to get to just basic healthcare,” Bryant said.
So residents don’t have to go to the big city to get their mammogram.
“We do those locally here in Coushatta,” Bryant said. “A lot of times I can get your mammogram done the exact same day.”
“People are shocked that Coushatta has this technology here,” said Brandi Williams, a mammography technologist. “They think they have to go to bigger cities to get this technology.”
The Coushatta location has the latest 3D mammogram technology.
“The images are so much better,” Williams said. “Small things can be caught with the 3D, where they’re not seen so well with the 2D.”
Preventative screenings have dropped since the start of the pandemic. Some people fear COVID-19, and others have lost jobs and, therefore, insurance.
“Come see us at Coushatta. We will help you with the payments,” said Bryant. “Don’t stress or worry about money at this time. Come see us, let evaluate you so we can help prevent breast cancer.”
Bryant hosts a women’s health clinic on Mondays, alternating between Christus Coushatta and Ringgold locations.
For more information on Breast Cancer Awareness Month, visit KTBS.com/breasthealth.
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