[PLATTEVILLE, WI] —- The University of Wisconsin-Platteville and Southwest Health of Platteville are teaming up to save lives by highlighting the importance of early detection in the biggest way possible. As a high profile reminder that mammograms save lives, the partners will illuminate the world’s largest “M” in pink from dusk to 10 pm both Friday and Saturday on consecutive weekends, October 17, 18, 24 and 25. The public is invited to view the pink “M” from any of the many locations around the area from which it is visible.
“The “M” is an enduring symbol of education and of our area’s rich mining history,” says Southwest Health CEO Dan Rohrbach. “We’re proud that during these two weekends in October, M also stands for mammogram, and that together, UW-Platteville and Southwest Health can use this local icon can be used to bring attention to this potentially life-saving exam.”
One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her life, yet only 50 percent of women who should have regular mammograms get them, according to Southwest Health statistics. “Unfortunately, not all organizations agree on mammogram guidelines, making the situation confusing,” says Southwest Health Women’s Center director Kim Christopher Mackey, MD, OB/GYN. The US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines, for example, call for screening to be repeated annually beginning at age 50. The American Cancer Society recommends annual screenings that begin at 40. “At Southwest Health, we recommend women and their doctors discuss the benefits and limitations of mammograms and together decide what’s best for each person’s individual situation and preferences,” says Dr. Mackey.
Students from the Wisconsin Mining School built the “M” 77 years ago. The Wisconsin Mining School (later known as the Wisconsin Institute of Technology) combined with the Platteville State Teachers College in 1959 to form what is now UW-Platteville. The “M” sits on the Platte Mound, four miles northeast of the Platteville city limits, and can be seen in Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.