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2006 Washingtonians of the Year: Andrea Roane

“One caller told me that we saved her life. She had breast cancer, but she found it early.”

Some smart women do dumb things when it comes to their health. They rarely do breast self-exams and put off getting mammograms. A mammogram can be uncomfortable—“but it beats the alternative,” says WUSA Channel 9 anchor Andrea Roane, who has championed women’s health for the past 13 years.

Roane initiated Buddy Check 9 here—the program that encourages women to buddy up and remind each other monthly to do self-exams and get annual mammograms. Men and women often call Roane to tell her how the program has affected their lives.

One woman told Roane that, thanks to a self-exam, she found a lump just a few months after her annual mammogram. Her diligence made a difference—she lived to tell her story.

One in nine women in the DC area will develop breast cancer. African-American women in DC have the highest mortality rate. Survival rates can reach 93 percent if the disease is caught early. That’s why Roane is so passionate about getting the message out.

Roane and Buddy Check 9 have teamed with Georgetown’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates helps too with a mammography van that reaches women where they live and work.

Roane started as a teacher in New Orleans, so it comes naturally for her to keep after women to do their health homework. “I still believe that education is the answer to all that ails us,” she says.

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