Gordon Memorial celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Gordon Memorial Hospital is celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness month in October by helping raise awareness about mammography and the importance of early detection. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Almost two-thirds of those diagnosed will still be at a localized stage (the cancer hasn’t spread yet), for which the 5-year survival rate is 99 percent. However, it is estimated that 41,760 will die from the disease this year in the US alone.

Early detection is key. Although there has been a decline in the rate of deaths from breast cancer in recent years, it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. Studies have shown that, when detected early, the chance for successful treatment of breast cancer is nearly 100 percent. For the best chance of detecting cancer early, monthly self-examinations should be performed, as well as annual clinical exams by a trained provider, and mammograms every 1 to 2 years after the age of 40. Those under 40 with a family history of cancer should consult their physician as to when and how often to have one.

According to a report from Great Plains Quality Innovation Network, only 50.2 percent of Medicare Beneficiaries age 50-74 in Sheridan County received a mammogram between the fourth quarter of 2016 and the third of 2018.

According to Franchone Bauer, Registered Mammographer at Gordon Memorial Hospital, she has seen close to a 40% increase in mammos done since starting 8 years ago. This year, Bauer has already performed 15 more exams than she did in all of 2018. She sees awareness as one of the factors in this, as people are still learning that the hospital even offers the service. Of those examined this year, 20 have been sent for more extensive imaging and three cases of cancer have been caught from those additional tests.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the GMH radiology department is encouraging everyone to wear pink, having daily giveaways in front of their department and will be holding a drawing for a gift basket for one of their October mammography patients at the end of the month. They will also be holding a year-end grand-prize drawing out of everyone who had a mammogram done this year.

For women 40 and over, scheduling a mammo is as easy as calling the radiology department at 282-6238. Those under 40 will need to be referred by their medical provider, as it is not generally covered by insurance.