Science of Self-Exams Taught at Blessing Breast Center

Sheila Hermesmeyer, oncology nurse and MammaCare BSE Instructor, has many roles at Blessing Breast Center, where she has worked for 38 years. Hermesmeyer is Blessing Hospital’s Breast Center Navigator, helping patients understand their diagnoses, addressing barriers to care, coordinating the monthly lymphedema screening clinic, and shepherding women through the often-complicated process of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. She summarized her multiple clinical and support activities modestly, “I wear many hats.” Her community outreach is one more hat.

As a MammaCare certified instructor, Sheila organized outreach to the community that has stimulated buy-in from physicians. Oncologists and internal medicine physicians now encourage their patients to participate in her classes, “The oncologists put up MammaCare posters in the exam rooms and inform patients about my MammaCare classes,” says Sheila, whose Introduction to MammaCare BSE class is held four times a year. Flyers about the classes inform internal medicine physicians at the clinic and are even distributed by outreach nurses who walk at the community mall to boost the program’s visibility.

Sheila explains how she learned the science behind breast self-exams. “I was mimicking my doctor’s technique before I went to the MammaCare training in Chicago.” The women who participate in her MammaCare classes report that learning the procedure directly from an instructor is most helpful. “One women was 37 when she was diagnosed and brought all her girlfriends to the MammaCare class.”

Blessing Hospital hosts many events for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A speaker series was hosted by Sheila Hermesmeyer and Blessing Hospital, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the movie “Pretty in Pink” with a special showing of the film. The event included a representative from the 3D breast center and a dietitian to answer questions followed by the movie screening. Throughout the month, the hospital and breast center also participate in a T-shirt drive to raise funds that support the cost of mammograms and breast care for indigent women in the Quincy, Illinois community. For more information on Sheila Hermesmeyer, Blessing Breast Center, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month at Blessing Hospital, please visit https://www.blessinghealth.org/treatments/breast-center.

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