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Office of Internal Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax: 713.743.8196

October 12, 2004


It’s been said that the best things in life are free. Sometimes, those things can actually save one’s life.

That’s certainly the case during Breast Cancer Awareness Month when the University of Houston’s Health Center offers free breast exams for the campus community from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 13 and Wednesday, Oct. 20. (See EARLY DETECTION KEY TO SURVIVAL for overview of activities.)

Although the largest breast cancer risk group risk consists women 40 and older, Floyd Robinson, UH Health Center director, said that exams are vital for adults of all ages.

“We are finding breast cancer in women who are in their 20s,” he said. “The average age for students here is 27. A lot of them feel they are too young for exams, but breast cancer is not selective when it comes to age.”

Men also are encouraged to take advantage of these free screenings. The American Cancer Society reported that male breast cancer accounts for one percent of all breast cancer cases, and Robinson said that cases have been diagnosed in the UH Health Center Men’s Clinic.

During the free exams, health center physicians will provide information on breast cancer and instructions on self-examinations.

“We ask patients if they perform self-exams and the answer is often, ‘yes.’ When they show us what they do, however, sometimes, it is not the proper technique,” Robinson said.

While some may not perform self-examinations properly, others simply avoid screenings altogether. Robinson said that the fear of “what if” is a primary reason so many people put off being examined.

Those who are unable to attend the free screenings can make an appointment at the health center for an examination. Doctor’s visits cost $15 for students and $35 for faculty and staff.

If a potentially cancerous mass is detected, Robinson said the health center will assist in providing direction as to the next steps to take.

“We will recommend that the patient undergo a mammography,” Robinson said. “If they have no way of finding out where to get one or how much they cost, we will find that out for them. We sometimes even go so far as to put them in touch with a physician if necessary.”

Mike Emery