As Saint Mary’s Regional Health System introduces their new digital mammography equipment, women in the River Valley are making it a point to take responsibility for their own breast health and that of their loved ones.
For the past 10 years, Patricia Weisenbach and her mother, Martha Morrell, both of Centerville have been accountability partners when it comes to getting their yearly mammograms, and they do so by making it a mother/daughter day. They begin with their health screening, and the rest of the day is spent shopping at local businesses and dining at their favorite restaurant.
In the past few years, Patricia has encouraged her older sisters, Sherry Morrell and April Garner, to join in the tradition, and it truly has become a family affair.
“I always put my mammogram off,” explained April, “that is until one year, my sister and mom made the appointment for me.” April has been apart of the family tradition ever since.
This custom that began a decade ago is one that Martha credits to her mother. “After performing a self examination, my mom discovered a lump. She quickly made an appointment with her doctor, and at the age of 75, she was diagnosed with a very aggressive type of breast cancer. According to her physician, if they had not caught the cancer when they did, we would have lost her. That is the reason we go on a yearly basis. The thought of losing a loved one really scared us.”
Ken Dilday, Saint Mary’s Director of Imaging, urges patients not to be hesitant about scheduling mammograms. "Studies have shown that regular breast exams, mammograms and early diagnosis lead to faster intervention and overall better health in both women and men. And yes, men can develop breast cancer,” he adds. “So, be accountable to those you love, and insist they seek the best breast health care available.”
“We are thrilled to be offering digital mammograms,” Dilday shares. “At Saint Mary’s, our goal is to combine advanced technology with well trained radiologists, imaging technicians and hospital staff who are dedicated to seeking the well being of every patient that walks through our doors.”
For Dede Wilson of Rusellville, Saint Mary’s offered just that.
“When I walked in the door the first face I saw was Shelly Jones of Outpatient Services, and she had a smile on her face. She greeted me like I was the only person to have ever come through those doors. To a person going to a mammogram, that is a comfort, and that’s what I got from the experience: comfort and peace of mind due to their care. And it didn’t end there,” Wilson added. “When I was taken back, the mammographer, Sarah Love, visited with me. She told me what she was going to do. She explained the new digital equipment. She did that for me. That puts a person at ease.”
“The experience was smooth and efficient,” Sherry Morrell says. “Saint Mary’s went out of their way to accommodate us and scheduled us all together,” adds Patricia.
The ladies were also very pleased with the turn around of their results. “They were really quick to get the letters to us that everything looked good,” Sherry stated. “We got the mammograms done on Monday, and I received the letter in my mailbox on Thursday. I was very pleased.”
Dianne Edwards, owner and editor of ABOUT…the River Valley Magazine spoke of her experience, "When a recent breast mammogram indicated the need for further imaging, I was referred to Saint Mary's for a digital breast mammogram. The technician immediately put me at ease with her explanation of the procedure. The test was painless, and other than a bit of pressure, there was little to no discomfort what-so-ever."
It was Dianne Edward’s experience with Saint Mary’s that led to her to partner with the hospital. Edward’s proudly announces, "To encourage members of our community to schedule their digital breast exam today, ABOUT is pleased to offer a limited time special. Beginning in April, the first 250 women to schedule their baseline mammogram with Saint Mary's Breast Imaging department will receive a certificate for a free year's subscription (10 issues) of ABOUT... the River Valley Magazine. To encourage more women to become “accountability partners” the next 500 duos who schedule their mammograms together will receive a coupon for two subscriptions for the price of one. This is just one way ABOUT Magazine can encourage a happier, healthier River Valley."
Likewise, Mirage Day Spa and Salon has joined the campaign to promote women’s health by offering an incentive of their own. Also beginning in April, every woman having her digital mammogram at Saint Mary’s can receive a $15 discount coupon for a 30 minute Rejuvenating Stone Back Massage from the Mirage. This service is a $45 value, but for women with this coupon, the service is only $30. It is a great way for women to reward themselves for taking a proactive approach to their health.
“The Rejuvenating Stone Back Massage is very, very relaxing,” says Audra Findley, owner of the Mirage. “The warm stones heat and relax the muscles in a way that a normal massage doesn’t. It’s a whole new experience for someone who has only received a regular massage.”
Early detection is vital in the fight against breast cancer, and now the most advanced technology in digital mammography is just a stone’s throw away! Check with your doctor about your breast health, and call Saint Mary’s scheduling at 964-5999 for your annual screening appointment.
Laura McCourt (left) and Patsy Robinson of Danville are a mother/daughter duo who schedule their annual screening mammograms together each year. Patsy (Mom) is a breast cancer survivor since 1999, and has multiple sisters who are also survivors. She and daughter Laura have been coming to Saint Mary's for their mammograms for several years, and are one another's "accountability partner" in breast health.
Sarah Love, a radiology technician at Saint Mary's, puts Dede Wilson of Russellville at ease prior to her digital mammogram.