DIGITAL MAMMOGRAPHY - AN EARLY DETECTION   TOOL FOR BREAST CANCER

By Martha Nottingham (Reprinted from the 10/29/13 edition of the Senior Citizens’ News)


According to current statistics, breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in women, and will affect an average of one in eight sometime during their lifetime. Although this dreaded disease can strike at any age, most healthcare providers recommend that routine screening mammograms begin around age 40. In addition to other risk factors, apparently this senior stage of life in which we find ourselves increases our chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Because this publication provides ‘news and information specifically for today’s senior…helping body, mind & spirit’, the following account is intended to educate and inspire. Whether for ourselves or the women in our lives (mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, friends, etc.), please consider digital mammography as an early detection tool for breast cancer. 

(Pictured on the previous page with Dr. Ronald Pearson) Beverly Bennett of Exchange, WV arrived at the BCMH Mammography Department for a follow-up mammogram in early August. The new digital equipment available at our local hospital revealed an area of concern indicating the need for further testing. Beverly is no stranger to this type of procedure having previously undergone three biopsies at a facility in Charleston. Following a discussion with Mammographer, Shawn Hunter, RT(R)(M), she decided to have Dr. Ronald Pearson, BCMH’s General Surgeon, perform the necessary test. She comments, “Shawn is wonderful and I feel blessed just to talk with her.” In addition to her health concerns, Beverly was unsure about insurance coverage should the procedure be delayed past August. Shawn worked with Dr. Pearson’s staff to schedule the needle biopsy on August 15th. Beverly states, “It is encouraging to know that our hospital is not only concerned about healthcare, but also in helping patients with their finances as well.” 

Beverly noted her appreciation for the digital mammography capabilities at BCMH commenting, “With the new machine, Shawn could enlarge the image of the troubled area. I was so at ease and could see for the first time what calcifications look like. I believe this new machine was worth whatever it cost because the pictures were beneficial for Dr. Pearson. Shawn took her time and made every effort to get the best results while explaining the procedure each step of the way.” Prior to the actual biopsy performed in the Surgery Department, Shawn worked with Dr. Pearson during the needle localization process. 

Expounding on the services available close to home at BCMH, Chief Radiology Technologist, Robin Gump, RT(R)(M), states, “Although not all types of biopsies are performed here, we do have the capability of ultrasound guided biopsies in addition to needle localizations. Following an abnormal mammogram, spot compressions and subsequent ultrasounds can also be performed at BCMH with results available in one day.” Robin adds, “For those patients who receive a report indicating additional testing is needed, it is nice to be able to provide services locally with quick results.” Surgical Services Leader, Pam Bender, RN, also notes that Dr. Pearson performs excisional biopsies, partial mastectomies and mastectomies at BCMH as well.  Since the implementation of digital mammography only a few months ago, multiple positive comments have been received from patients acknowledging the improved comfort level of the mammography exam. The enhanced capability of detecting abnormalities and areas of concern through images available in only a matter of seconds is also considered a positive aspect of the services provided at our local, community hospital. Beverly comments, “If I ever need this type of procedure again, I will come back to BCMH. From the time I began this process, I knew I was surrounded by Christians. I praise God for my good results.” 

Braxton County Memorial Hospital truly appreciates Beverly allowing us to share her story and we wish her continued good health. For additional information regarding digital mammography or other services available at your local, community hospital, visit our website at braxtonmemorial.org or call (304) 364-5156.

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