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What mammogram and breast cancer resources are available to Selma

Like many businesses and product brands, Walmart on Highland Avenue has special pink displays for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. These pink cupcakes are on display in the women’s clothing section, a perfect place for female awareness. -- Ashley Johnson

Selma is covered in pink, or it seems to be at least. With October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month brand name products turn their labels pink and athletes sport pink socks, shoes and accessories. All of this in an effort to raise money and awareness about the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women after lung cancer in the U.S.

With all of the advertisements urging women to get tested, Vaughan Regional Medical Center in Selma said they are prepared to service women for mammograms.

“Vaughan offers digital mammography, the most modern mammography equipment available to patients today,” Merrill South with Vaughan Regional Medical Center, said. “We perform more than 450 mammograms each month, and we are very pleased to be able to provide this quality service for the citizens of Selma and Dallas County.”

While some women may be antsy about the procedure, South said the mammograms are performed with digital mammography equipment that has the ability to create highly detailed images.

“Mammograms are simple procedures performed by the very qualified technologists here at Vaughan Regional.  Our staff immediately puts our patients at ease, explaining the non-invasive procedure step-by-step, answering any questions along the way,” she said.

In fact at most clinics and medical facilities mammograms take only about 30 minutes from start to finish so it is faster than going to the doctor for a typical check-up or a shot.

South also explained the urgency women should feel to go and schedule a mammogram, because of the alarming rates at which women are diagnosed annually. Women should have mammograms for a number of reasons, South said, because most doctors feel that early detection tests for breast cancer save thousands of lives each year.

“Many more lives could be saved if even more women and their health care providers took advantage of these tests,” South said.

But Vaughan Regional Medical Center is not the only location women can get a breast examination. The Dallas County Health Department has clinics for breast examinations as well. In the last year the Alabama Health Department screened more than 11,000 women and conducted 9,000 mammograms. Forms are available to determine eligibility of a breast examination or mammogram.

The American Cancer Society said area hospitals are usually inundated with women scheduling mammograms around the month of October, so they suggest always scheduling one during your birth month or around the time of a birthday. Women who are over the age of 40 should get an exam annually.

In addition to the Vaughan Regional and Dallas County Health Care facilities that care and test for women with breast and cervical cancers, The American Cancer Society has several resources available to women according to Bridget Mills, the community representative for the cancer society.

Mills said a hotline is in place for those concerned about a diagnosis or those going through breast cancer treatment. She said cancer patients as well as caregivers can call in at all hours of the night for questions and help.

Women needing to call this hotline can call 1-800-227-2345 for no cost. Women who would like to schedule a mammogram with Vaughan Regional Medical Center can set up an appointment today by calling the mammography department, 334-418-4100.

Those wishing to learn more about resources and clinics for mammography at the Dallas County Health Department can call 334-874-2550.