Faces of Breast Cancer comes to Juniata County

Ribbon cutting held for photography exhibit

MIFFLINTOWN–The PA Breast Cancer Coalition has teamed up with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to bring its photo exhibit, “67 Women, 67 Counties: Facing Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania” to the new Juniata Valley Bank building on Penn Highway. A ribbon cutting ceremony took place on Tuesday morning.

The photo exhibit showcases breast cancer survivors from each county in Pennsylvania. For each county, there is a photo of a survivor and a quote from them about how breast cancer has impacted their lives. Most show that breast cancer doesn’t just affect them, but everyone around them. The exhibit also encourages women to have screenings and seek out early detection.

Suzanne Booher, marketing director of Juniata Valley bank, said that she was contacted by one of the county commissioners and the communications coordinator, Abigail Piskel, of the PBCC.

“[Abi Piskel] spoke with us about what the display does and how long it appears at a location and how they were looking for a good location. We immediately thought of our new building because it’s so beautiful and we’re so proud of it and we know that people love to visit here, so now they’ll have a really good place to see all of these survivors from all over the counties of Pennsylvania,” Booher said.

PBCC was formed 25 years ago by Pat Halpin-Murphy, She had been diagnosed late with stage three breast cancer because her breasts were dense, making it hard for the screening to pick up on tumors.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer over 20 years ago,”Halpin-Murphy said. “It was a late diagnosis, even though I had my yearly mammogram.”

“I had to have surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, everything. Going through all of that was tough, but I’ve been cancer free ever since, so it worked,” Halpin-Murphy said. “After a year or two, when I realized I was going to survive, I thought that I had been given a gift and that I wanted to help other women who were in similar situations. So, I started the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.”

“We’re just thrilled to be here in Juniata county and at Juniata Valley Bank with our photo exhibit.”

“We want to help anybody in this area that’s been diagnosed with breast cancer. They can get in touch with us through our website, www.pabreastcancer.org.

“We do a lot of work. For instance, we got legislation passed requiring mammography facilities to tell women if they have dense breasts,” Halpin-Murphy said.

Halpin-Murphy said that if anyone is uninsured or underinsured, the PBCC can help connect them with free mammograms. Additionally, if you are insured, Pennsylvania requires providers to have free 3D mammograms.

She said that 3D mammograms are almost 40% better than regular mammograms, and encourages women to use those.

“They’re better at one, finding a tumor if it’s there, and two, not having what we call false positives.”