Spectrum marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month

REED CITY — October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the mammographers at Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital will be doing a little extra pampering for those women who receive a mammogram at their facility during the month of October.

Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital wants to take this opportunity to celebrate women and remind them of the importance of annual mammograms. In the United States alone, the National Cancer Institute estimates that over 232,000 new cases of breast cancer have been diagnosed thus far in 2011. And according to the Center for Disease Control, aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States.

“Finding breast cancer early is the number one key to successful treatment,” explains Kathy Stein, director of clinical diagnostic services. “Digital mammography is so important. It can detect breast cancer at an early stage, when treatment is more effective.”

The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 or older have a mammogram every year, and women between the ages of 20-39 should have a clinical breast exam by a health care provider a minimum of every three years. “The good news is that mortality rates from breast cancer have been declining, thanks to earlier detection, increased awareness and improved treatment,” says Stein.

Most doctors feel that early detection tests for breast cancer save many thousands of lives each year, and that many more lives could be saved if even more women and their health care providers took advantage of these tests. Following the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer improves the chances that breast cancer can be diagnosed at an early stage and treated successfully.

To encourage women to schedule their mammogram, Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital will be providing some special incentives on the day of their October appointment. Women will be offered something special and their name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a beautiful gift basket which includes a hand knit quilt, made possible by an anonymous donor.

To schedule an appointment for a screening mammogram, please call Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital’s scheduling department at 231-832-7135. You do not need an order from your physician office.

Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital has a state of the art digital mammography system, along with computer aided detection (CAD) equipment that enhances screening and diagnosis of breast cancer. Digital mammography and computer aided detection (CAD) benefits Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital’s existing cancer and women’s health programs. Patients with a suspicious finding also have access to breast ultrasound imaging and surgical breast biopsies for more definitive diagnosis. Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital has also invested in a stereotactic breast biopsy table that improves breast biopsy procedures. Using this system, Thomas Campana, MD, FACS, general surgeon, performs breast biopsies using minimally invasive techniques. Dr. Campana is a member of the Society of Surgical Oncology as well as the American Society of Breast Surgeons. Digital mammography complements the stereotactic equipment, making images of a tumor site more visible and accessible to Dr. Campana while performing the biopsy.

If cancer treatment is necessary, patients can receive infusion or radiation therapy in Reed City. Crossroads Radiation Therapy Center offers treatment from a linear accelerator machine that produces beams of high-energy radiation directed at cancer cells. Infusion therapy is also offered locally. The cancer team in Reed City collaborates with teams at the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion in Grand Rapids to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.