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MONITOR YOUR HEALTH - February 2, 2006

Minnie Hamilton Health Care Center is offering a free Health Clinic on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 9 a.m. to noon, for women who have not had a physical exam in the past year.

I am really pleading with you to take advantage of this opportunity.

Here is my experience:

I have been part of the Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Program from West Virginia University for about 12 years. As a participant, I have had routine breast checks, mammograms, pap smears, and blood work for most of this time.

For five years, participants were either given tamoxifen or a placebo, a pill having no effect, but given as a control in a study. I was on the placebo. At the end of five years, it was determined that tamoxifen really did help prevent cancer. The participants were then given the opportunity to take tamoxifen.

I tried it for two months and thought that there were adverse effects, such as muscle pains, so the drug was discontinued. I remained in the trial study, and all my health concerns were still reported to the Clinical Trials staff.

Two years ago, when I had a mammogram, I was called back for a second check. I was told at that time that there was nothing definite, but it should be closely observed in the future. November 2005 was the determining checkup. I was called back for a second check, followed by a spot mammogram, biopsy and then a lumpectomy on Jan. 19.

I was a little apprehensive because there is a strong history of breast cancer in my family, going back at least three generations. These thoughts were put to rest, because they determined that this type was age related. (Of course, I was humiliated to hear this. After all, I can still roll under the fence on the way to our pond!)

Every checkup, every procedure, every clinic had providers that were very caring and thorough in their work. The only problem I had at any time was in getting arrangements made with office staff at one site. This was not the professional staff. This convinced me again that individuals must be responsible for their own situation. Don’t accept delays for unexplained reasons. Ask questions until you understand.

When I returned for the check up last week, I was told that women are so concerned about breast cancer, but should know that breast cancer is not the main reason of death in women. Bone fractures, especially broken hips, are more destructive followed by heart and diabetes related conditions.

I hope, that as you read this, you will make a commitment to yourself, your family and your God to take care of your health. It is important to teach by example to our following generations to value and monitor our health.

Schedule your checkup today!

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