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COLUMBIA – The Ellis Fischel Cancer Center will be hosting a ‘mammothon’ for women to get breast cancer screenings in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The event is designed to give women and men a chance to receive the potentially life-saving screening outside of normal business hours. In addition to having mammograms, cancer screening nurses will be providing breast exams and information on breast cancer education.

The screenings will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

“Screening mammogram's are a good way of detecting breast cancer and reducing breast cancer related deaths,” said Dr. Megha Garg, Director of Breast Imaging at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. 

“We are screening the patients that have no symptoms or any other breast diseases, so when we screen those patients and we find those early small cancers, that’s when they are most treatable,” Garg said. 

According to Dr. Garg, after the introduction of mammograms, breast cancer related deaths have reduced by about 40 percent. 

Amy Martens, who's worked in the MU Health Care system for 18 years said since women are supposed to come in annually for mammogram, connecting with women is one of the best parts of the job. 

"You get to know the patients year after year, so you form a bond with them," Martens said. 

According to the CDC, getting mammograms regularly can lower a person’s risk of dying from breast cancer. Aside from some forms of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women. Mammograms are covered by most health insurance programs.

Aside from getting a mammogram, the CDC recommends keeping a healthy weight and exercising regularly, which can help lower a person's risk of getting breast cancer. 

Women must be 40 years or older to get a mammogram. Those that are interested can make an appointment by calling 573-884-4082. Walk-ins are also welcome.