October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Tim Clark, Medical Imaging Director, and the radiologic technologists at Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital remind area residents that breast cancer screenings help save lives.
“Mammography is the best tool in the early diagnosis of breast cancer giving patients a much better chance of survival and leading a long, productive life,” states Tim Clark, RDCS RVT, Director of Medical Imaging. “Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital’s digital mammography and ultrasound technology provide incredibly sharp images for superior results. And to provide patients a more comfortable and private area when having their mammogram, we remodeled the mammography suite last year. We have received numerous positive comments from patients on the added privacy, warm gowns and cushions used for breast imaging. Mammo capes sewn and donated by Partners provide additional privacy for women.”
The most recent screening recommendations from the American Cancer Society put more emphasis on educating women, especially those at increased risk for breast cancer, about the benefits and limits of mammography and other screening methods. Women and their doctors are encouraged to discuss the possibility of beginning screening at age 30, or in rare cases, even younger. Another option might be to consider screening with breast ultrasound or MRI in addition to their regular mammogram.
The risk of getting breast cancer increases with age, but many older women also have serious health conditions that make screening less practical and beneficial for them. As long as a woman is in good health, she should continue getting routine mammograms.
- Yearly mammograms are recommended starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health.
- Clinical breast exam (CBE) should be part of a periodic health exam, about every 3 years for women in their 20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over.
- Women should know how their breasts normally feel and report any breast change promptly to their health care providers. Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women starting in their 20s.
The Medical Imaging Department encourages women to perform breast self-exams to become familiar with the normal look and feel of the breast so that any changes may be promptly reported to their healthcare professional. Individuals that are not experiencing any breast symptoms may schedule an appointment to complete their yearly physical. Those experiencing breast symptoms are urged to talk to their physician about scheduling a mammogram.
PdC Memorial Hospital’s Radiology Department is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) every three years and is inspected each April by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) using the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) guidelines. Area residents are reminded to call to schedule their annual screening exam about a month prior to the date they prefer to have the exam as appointments fill up fast. Mammography appointments may be made by calling the hospital to complete a yearly physical if the individual is not having abnormal breast symptoms. Individuals experiencing abnormal breast symptoms should talk to their physician. Surviving breast cancer is greatly improved with early detection and treatment. The few moments spent having a mammogram is the first line of defense against breast cancer.
Partners have sewn beautiful mammography capes in a variety of pink solid and print fabrics for the Mammography Suite at Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital. The capes provide additional privacy for women during the procedure. Pictured from left: Lorna Davis, Ruth Skelly, Dawn Arnold, Marsha Ritter, Partners; Mary Mara, Volunteer Coordinator; and Kathy Ihde, Jean Blake, Allison Riter, and Becky Willems, Radiologist Technologists. Radiology Department staff not pictured include: Tim Clark, Director; Nikki Corlett, Ultrasonographer; and Luke Hoffman, Amber Jones, Mary Sadewasser, Teesha Smethurst, and Mandy Youngblut, Technologists.