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Enjoy Magazine

Tickled Pink - Breast Cancer Awareness

10/01/2006 09:27AM ● By Brandi Barnett
By Teresa Wilson

When Barbara Kersey was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer in October 2002, her life forever changed. As a mammography technologist for MD Imaging, Kersey has performed thousands of mammograms on other women, some battling cancer and others merely receiving routine care. When Kersey suddenly became the patient, her understanding of the illness came full circle.

As she battled her cancer through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Kersey realized the redeeming factor in the path to healing was the love and support she received from her family, friends and coworkers. Kersey smiled and said, “I am lucky to have such a large family and everyone at MD Imaging was so supportive while I was ill.”

Since her recovery, Kersey has returned to work as a mammographer and extends her compassion to other women when the opportunity arises. “I’ve given my name and number to patients and told them to call if they would like to talk. I don’t force myself on them. I just understand what they are going through,” she said. “Some women are distraught and may not have anyone to talk to.”

With October being the official Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many women are reminded to check with their physician to discuss any concerns and explore healthcare options for preventative care and treatment. “Many women fear the result so they avoid being tested,” Kersey said. Treatment options are numerous and early detection is essential to the survival rate of this form of cancer. Melody Christenson, director of marketing for MD Imaging states, “Breast cancer is one of the cancers that have a 96 percent cure rate if detected early. And the primary method of finding it is through mammograms.”

Since 1951, MD Imaging has led the effort in educating women about breast cancer and preventative procedures through state-of-the art digital imaging and traditional mammography
screening. Se choices for preventative and diagnostic care are abundant and when selecting a diagnostic provider the most important consideration is the patient experience. From the smiling faces at the reception desk to the compassionate radiology technicians, MD Imaging strives to ensure all patients are treated warmly. “We know people are apprehensive about coming to us. Ourprimary goal is to try and make it as easy as possible,” said Christenson.

MD Imaging has taken breast cancer awareness to another level with their involvement in the birth of Se Nor-Cal Sink Pink Campaign that began in Redding 10 years ago. It all started from a conversation in a boardroom about the need for a breast cancer awareness program in the
North State. Christenson, Dr. Michael Figueroa, an oncologist for Cancer Care Consultants, and Carol Lake of the American Cancer Society were instrumental in launching the campaign locally.

With the focus on early detection and awareness, it was determined that a gift bag containing relative information about breast cancer would be beneficial in educating North State residents in a non-traditional way. Christenson remembers, “It was very high on our agenda that whateverwas in the bag needed to be very current and absolutely medically correct information for the public in a language they could understand.”

Volunteers stand curbside at predetermined locations in Redding, distributing the pink bags that contain essential information intended to educate women on early detection of breast cancer. “That first year we passed out 500 bags and this year we’ll be distributing nearly
40,000,” said Christenson.

With 26 communities now participating in Nor-Cal Sink Pink, the awareness campaign has clearly infiltrated the neighboring areas of Redding. Volunteers run each region completely and the bags
distributed are tailored by each community to Vt the needs of the local residents.

The idea of using a pink theme was determined to have the most impact in a city predominately clad in blue denim. “We wanted to do something that would make people stop and take notice,” smiled
Christenson. The first year they stood on Court Street and wagged down cars to pull over and take a bag. Since then, the operation has grown significantly and a network of volunteers has built this program to become a North State tradition.

Women have many options when it comes to preventative healthcare and when choosing a diagnostic provider, MD Imaging is a sound choice. With regular checkups by your family physician and routine mammograms, women have the opportunity to maintain optimal health for many years. Not only do annual checkups play an important role in overall well-being, but a healthy diet and exercise may also keep illness at bay.

In addition to monthly self-breast exams, Se American Cancer Society recommends that, “women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast examination (CBE) as part of a periodic (regular) health exam by a health professional preferably every three years. After age 40, women should have a breast exam by a health professional every year.”

For more information, visit the American Cancer Society Web site at