Rose O’Hara, representing the Ohio County Community Educational Outreach Service clubs, and Dr. William Mercer, director of the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department, placed the wreath on the exterior of the courthouse.
Speaking to the assembled CEOS members, health officials and other citizens, O’Hara noted that it marked the 13th annual West Virginia Breast Cancer Awareness Day.
The wreath is placed in the public building to call attention to the need for breast cancer screening, to honor breast cancer survivors and to remember those who have died from the disease, Mercer said.
O’Hara said it is hoped that when women see the pink wreath, they will remember to have a mammogram performed.
O’Hara said that all over West Virginia, women were gathering at courthouses, libraries, post offices and other sites in every county on Breast Cancer Awareness Day to demonstrate a commitment to fight the disease that has claimed the lives of so many women. “We hope we can beat cancer this year,” she said.
During the brief ceremony, Mercer read a proclamation recognizing West Virginia Breast Cancer Awareness Day and Month.
He said it is estimated that 1,300 women in the state will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 300 West Virginia women will die from breast cancer this year. He said that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women, ages 25-44, and is the second leading cause of death among West Virginia women, ages 45-64.
Mercer said that women have a one-in-eight lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and a one-in-33 risk of dying from the disease.
“Early detection is the best defense against breast cancer,” Mercer said.
To find breast cancer early, women should do a breast self-exam every month, have a doctor or nurse check their breasts every year and have regular mammograms. Women, ages 40-49, should have a mammogram every one to two years, while experts agree that women, age 50 and older, should receive mammograms yearly.
Many mammography facilities offer reduced rates on mammograms during October.
For information, call the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program at (800) 642-8522, the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345 or the Cancer Information Service at (800) 4-CANCER.
The West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program offers free or low-cost mammograms, breast exams and Pap tests to women who quality.
For information about the screening program, call the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department at (304) 234-3683.
Photo by Scott McCloskey -Dr. William Mercer, director of the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department, and Rose O’Hara, representing the Ohio County Community Educational Outreach Service clubs, place a wreath on the front of the City-County Building in downtown Wheeling on West Virginia Breast Cancer Awareness Day.