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Published on October 01, 2005

Softer Mammograms Offered at VWCH

October 01, 2005

Mary Jane Hotopp and Kim Larson

Mary Jane Hotopp and Kim
Larson, mammographers at
Valley West Community Hospital,
discuss the comments they have
received from satisfied patients
since Valley West started using
the soft foam Mammo-Pad on all
mammograms this spring. Other
technologists certified in
mammography at Valley West
are Janey Ciontea, Kay Nelson
and Karen Sepaniak.

Pink ribbons are everywhere—from bracelets to visors, coffee mugs to umbrellas, balloons to t-shirts. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an event that began in 1985 as a time for government agencies, service organizations and professional medical organizations to work together to increase breast cancer education and access to screenings. Since its beginning, the number of women who obtain mammograms has more than doubled according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. But there is still plenty of work to do. More than 40,000 breast cancer deaths are expected in 2005, many because early detection practices were not followed.

At Valley West Community Hospital, Mammography patients have been pleased with the addition of Mammo-Pad, a soft foam pad that creates a warm cushion between the patient and the mammography machine. “Patient are better able to tolerate the compression necessary for a good exam and the slight friction of the pad helps the patient stay in position better, too, “ reports Mary Jane Hotopp, Lead Mammographer. “The patients are impressed with this gentler mammogram and we are able to include more breast tissue—a win for everybody.”

"Mammography and clinical breast exam (exam by a medical professional) have the greatest impact on reducing breast cancer mortality, and therefore should receive the most emphasis," notes Debbie Saslow, PhD, director of breast and cervical programs at the American Cancer Society. ACS’s director of screening agrees that Breast Self Exam’s role in early detection is a supporting — but important — one. The bottom line is that in breast cancer early detection is better than later detection, and BSE helps with early detection," notes Smith. "BSE is a prudent thing to do; it’s worth the time and effort to teach and to use."

To schedule a screening mammogram at Valley West Community Hospital, call 815-786-3794. Wait times are short and exams are unhurried.

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