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Think pink for breast cancer awareness month

PRETTY IN PINK — The mammography technicians at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville all got together and bought pink T-shirts to wear in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pictured, from left: Judy Heary, Wanda DiCenzo, Sherri Maroney, Carrie Braymiller and Lisa Giangrosso. Photo by Lizz Schumer.
SPRINGVILLE — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the staff at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville have dressed up for the occasion. With the arrival of the new digital mammography machine at BCH in April 2011, Imaging Manager Lisa Smith said that there has been an increase in diagnostic imaging and raised awareness in the community.

“Everyone wants the latest in technology, and, because of community support, that’s what we are able to provide for our patients,” she said. “There has been a marked increase in the level of care and the number of people who keep their healthcare local.”

Although no exact figures for how many more women have been coming to BCH for their annual mammograms, more than 2,000 people have received them at that location to date, an increase from before the new technology was installed.

According to Breastcancer.org, about 39,520 women in the United States were expected to die in 2011 from breast cancer, although death rates have been decreasing since 1990, especially in women younger than 50. Doctors said they consider these decreases to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening and increased awareness.

The hospital’s new digital mammography machine, which was installed with funds raised by the BCH Hospital Foundation, is part of that earlier detection. Lead Mammographer Judy Heary said that the new equipment provides sharper, clearer images with better contrast and greater diagnostic consistency.

“Having your yearly mammogram is the best screening tool in diagnosing early breast cancer,” she said, adding that the three ways to detect breast abnormalities are yearly mammograms, monthly self-exams and a yearly clinical exam, by a clinician.

During the month of October, every woman who comes to BCH for a mammogram will receive a pink flower, the color of breast cancer awareness.

In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 57,650 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. Additionally, about 2,140 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in men, in 2011. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000 and a woman’s is about 1 in 8, according to breastcancer.org.

Anyone interested in scheduling a mammogram may contact BCH at 592-2871. The hospital foundation is also running a “Keeping Healthcare Local” appeal as part of a multi-phase improvement strategy for the hospital that includes equipment and facilities upgrades such as the mammography machine. More information can be found at www.bertrandchaffee.com.
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