Posted at: 10/18/2013 5:44 PM
By: John Doetkott
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Friday marks National Mammogram Day, a day dedicated to empowering women to get the check-ups they need to detect breast cancer early and improve their chance of survival.
For the past three years, Austin has held its annual Paint the Town Pink fundraiser, generating over $200,000 for the Hormel Institute and cancer research.
This year the event is expanding to Brownsdale, but while researchers work toward a cure, experts say it’s critical that women be proactive and get the screenings that they need.
"Research and a cure is the number one goal, and early detection is right behind there. You just have to know it's there,” said Kathi Finley, director of Paint the Town Pink.
Experts say mammograms can greatly reduce deaths in women over 40, and detecting the cancer early on gives patients the widest range of treatment options.
Barb Granholm of Austin was diagnosed with breast cancer 13 years ago following a routine physical and mammogram.
She said she never did self-exams regularly and is thankful she got the routine screening.
"I figured I was young enough at that point that I didn't need to do it,” Granholm said. “So it's a good thing I did go for my physical and did have the mammogram."
Experts recommend women over 40 get a mammogram every one to two years, or more frequently for women with high risk factors.
But experts say the key is stay on top of it and not let a minor problem grow into a major one.
"The research is great, hopefully someday they will find a cure for it,” Granholm said. “But until then, you have to do your own self-examination and do your mammograms every year, once a year."