"Operation Bloom" offers free breast exams - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

"Operation Bloom" offers free breast exams

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JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Betty Clayton-Lewis did something for herself Saturday morning, and she wore pink for the occasion.

"I filled out the questionnaire, the lady felt for the lumps, showed me how to do it. Told me what I should do, what to look for," Clayton-Lewis says. "I knew I needed it. For people with low income, it's hard to get a breast exam."

Even though she has no family history of breast cancer, Clayton-Lewis decided to take advantage of the first-time event, called "Operation Bloom".

"A lot of ladies don't have any family history of it, or risk factors," says Jennifer Lewis, one of several nurse practitioners performing the free breast exams at the Jackson Convention Complex.

The nurse practitioners are also educating women on how to perform the exams by themselves. Women are also getting referred to other medical facilities if they need further assessment.

The first signs of breast cancer are often detected by women during a breast exam at home. Minority women are more likely to have advanced breast cancer when first diagnosed. Also, according to Operation Bloom, only 56 percent of uninsured women had a mammogram in the past two years.

"We're gonna try to do it on an annual basis to educate ladies to help provide services, especially for ladies who don't have health insurance, or who don't have medical coverage of any type," Lewis says.

Operation Bloom is put on by the Runnels Foundation.

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