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Lt. Gov. Kicks Off Breast Cancer Awareness Month With Mammogram
Tuesday marked the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon came to Springfield on Tuesday to get a health screening in the hopes of showing others why it's important.
We had the chance to sit in on the Lt. Governor's visit, and think some of the information we heard from both the Lt. Governor and her mammographer will help answer some of the questions and erase some of the stigma surrounding mammograms.
"Women stay healthy for lots of reasons, like our families, like our daughters, and that helps you make sure that you're doing the best you can for everyone," said Simon.
This was not Simon's first mammogram, but she is a passionate advocate of the screening process.
"It's quick. It's easy. I'm going to be back at work really soon and I'm encouraging all women to do the same," said Simon.
Simon says, despite the stigma that surrounds mammograms, the procedure is not painful.
"Just the slightest bit of discomfort and that's about as bad as it gets," said Simon.
A mammographer with seven years of seeing patients says the same thing.
"The compression part can be a little bit pressureful to the breast, but it's important that you have that compression on the breast for the radiologist to get a true reading of the skin tissue," said Rachel Walters, a mammographer with Simmons Cancer Institute.
Both women stressed how little time the screening takes, and said it could even be done over a lunch break.
"Ten minutes! I mean, it's quick, it really is," said Walters. "It's a really fast exam. We schedule patients every 10 minutes on our schedule. That's getting you registered, getting you in the door, do you mammogram, do your history, and you're done."
They also added how important it can be for your health.
"Getting your mammogram is going to be your best defense against breast cancer--absolutely," said Walters.
"Alright, all done!," said Simon with two thumbs up as she exited the exam room.
Simon is urging women from all parts of the state to get their regular screenings so that they can arm themselves against breast cancer. If anyone has questions about the process, they can call and have a professional explain the steps to you, because a mammogram is not something to fear.
During the month of October, the Regional Cancer Partnership of Illinois is holding Mammogram Mondays, which provide free mammograms for uninsured women over the age of 40, every Monday of the month. But eventually, mammograms will be covered by the Affordable Care Act for all women over 40.