Transylvania Public Health will be putting the spotlight on breast cancer throughout October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer, celebrating the lives of the many women who survived and remembering those lost.

According to the State Center for Health Statistics, 9,772 women in N.C. will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 1,391 will die of the disease, making breast cancer the second leading cause of death among women. However, early detection and prompt treatment of breast cancer can save lives: 96 percent of women who find and treat breast cancer early will be cancer free after five years.

Transylvania Public Health encourages all women to take charge of their health by having regular screening tests for breast cancer, which check a woman’s breasts for cancer before any noticeable signs or symptoms are present. There are three main tests used to screen for breast cancer.

  • A breast self-exam is when you check your own breasts and underarms for lumps, swelling, changes in size or shape of the breast, or any changes in the color or texture of the skin.
  • A clinical breast exam is a breast exam by a doctor or nurse, who uses his or her hands to carefully feel for lumps or other changes in the entire breast area, often done during an annual checkup.
  • A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast tissue. Mammograms are the best method to detect breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it could be found using the other screening methods.

Transylvania Public Health offers free clinical breast exams and mammograms, along with pap smears when indicated, to women who are uninsured and meet income guidelines through the N.C. Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP). Call (828) 884-3135 to see if you qualify for free screenings through BCCCP or to schedule an appointment.

To learn more about services provided by Transylvania Public Health, call (828) 884-3135. To learn more about BCCCP, visit or call (919) 707-5300.