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      Free mammograms help to save lives and inform

      First Update (11/5/13)Phoebe says that 105 free mammograms were given at the Carlton Breast Health Center and 21 at Phoebe Sumter.Initial Story100 women will get a free mammogram courtesy of Phoebe Putney Health System throughout October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.Women are encouraged to begin getting the annual exam at 40 years old, but those who are considered high risk with a family history of breast cancer may be encouraged to do it even earlier.The Carlton Breast Health Center located inside Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is offering the free exams to women over 40 who have not had a mammogram in the past 12 months and complete a financial questionnaire.Vice President of Oncology Services Linda Van Der Merwe says the process to qualify is very quick and could save someone's life, but there are things women should do throughout the year as well to ensure their health.Performing a self examination every so often can also point out changes that may indicate something is wrong such as discoloration, a lump, swollen lymph nodes near the armpit and a change in the skin's texture.If you notice any of these changes, Van Der Merwe says it's important to contact your doctor for a check up immediately because the sooner the breast cancer is caught, the less invasive your treatment will be.