published Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Pierce: Mammogram myths and methods

Usually in this column we discuss nutrition and weight-watching. Today I’m going to vary from that, but the subject is just as important to women who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle.

I was glancing through the stage presentations for this weekend’s She expo and “Tatas and Tiaras” caught my attention. Pretty confident that tata wasn’t the Spanish translation for “dad” in this case, I thought I’d check it out.

I called Kathy Dittmar, director of Women’s Services for Memorial Health Care System, who is leading the presentation. She explained that “Tatas and Tiaras” is a humorous fashion show of hats that Memorial is presenting for the first time at She.

Nine women will be chosen from audience volunteers to come onstage and model an elaborate, blinged-out hat. Each hat is named, Dittmar said, with a play on words that correlates with one of the common excuses women give to avoid having mammograms.

For example, I’d be Painful Pauline. She dreads the big squeeze.

“This woman’s hat addresses the fear of pain associated with mammography from the test’s compression,” said Dittmar. “For some women it isn’t bad at all; others are more sensitive.”

After each hat’s excuse is identified, a nurse will offer solutions to that problem to educate those in the audience.

There may be several “Penny-Pinching Pearls” in the She audience. Pearl is the lady who doesn’t have insurance and can’t afford to pay for a mammogram without pinching pennies from other areas of her budget, described the director.

“We want the audience to know there are many resources for women who are underinsured or uninsured,” said Dittmar, such as grants awarded by the local Komen affiliate expressly for this purpose.

“Many people are unemployed now and have lost their insurance,” she said. “Even ladies who are Medicare age and have Medicare coverage aren’t aware that Medicare provides a mammogram every 12 months.”

There will nine humorous hat themes explained during the 45-minute sketch, she said.

“It’s a lot of fun. At the end of the presentation, each woman will trade her hat for a tiara, because every woman should be treated like a queen.”

You can catch Tatas and Tiaras at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the expo in the Chattanooga Convention Center. Tickets at the door are $30; but trust me when I say just the Red Hot Firefighters’ Show is worth the price of admission.

Bethenny Frankel is the guest star Saturday on Memorial’s stage at 3:30 p.m. So if you catch Tatas and Tiaras, you’ll already have a prime seat to see one of the original “Real Housewives of New York City.”

Contact Susan Pierce at or 423-757-6284.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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July 14, 2011 at 3:08 a.m.
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