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National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The staff at Tyrone Hospital want to make the public aware that October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and October 20 is National Mammography Day. The purpose of this recognition month is to spread the message that early detection of breast cancer followed by prompt treatment saves lives.
Since the program began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined by 1.6 percent between 1989 and 1995. This is exciting progress, but there are still women who do not take advantage of early detection at all and others who do not get screening mammograms and clinical breast exams at regular intervals.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in America. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2006, 212,920 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,970 women will die from the disease. When breast cancer is detected early and treated promptly, suffering and ultimately the loss of life can be significantly reduced.
Mammography (an x-ray picture of the breast) is the single most effective method to detect breast changes that may be cancer, long before physical symptoms can be seen or felt. For early stage breast cancer, there are more treatment options, treatment can be less disfiguring and less toxic, and survival is improved.
As women age, their risk of breast cancer increases. For most women, mammography screening should begin at age 40. The National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society continue to recommend periodic mammograms; and The National Breast Cancer Coalition recommends that each woman and her health care provider make an individual decision about mammography.
As risk factors vary in everyone, each woman and her doctor should discuss how often a mammogram is needed. Screening should continue throughout a woman’s lifetime.
In addition to the use of mammography, women should also have breast examinations by their health care provider, as part of their routine health care exams to search for any abnormalities.
Regular screening mammograms are covered by the U.S. government’s Medicare and Medicaid programs and other private health insurance plans (women should check their own insurance plans for individual details). Medicare covers mammography screening every year for women age 40 and older who are Medicare recipients.
Terry Crouse, Director of Radiology at Tyrone Hospital said women can access physician care as well as screening and diagnostic mammography and breast sonograms through Tyrone Hospital.
Crouse said Tyrone Hospital uses the iCADs Second Look 300 technology in conjunction with the standard reading of mammography films. The Second Look 300 is an advanced computer aided detection system (CAD) used for mammogram films to help with the early detection of breast cancer.
Computer–Aided Detection (CAD) is a sophisticated FDA-approved technology that helps radiologists identify characteristics that may be associated with various forms of cancer. By using iCAD patented algorithms to mark suspicious areas, CAD serves as a “second pair of eyes” and acts very much like a “spellchecker” to identify characteristics that may warrant a “Second Look” by the radiologist.
Mammogram films are scanned through the Second Look system before they are forwarded to the radiologist to read. The mammogram film is analyzed using sophisticated software, which helps to identify cancerous lesions.
Crouse said the Second Look system does not replace the radiologist reading. It merely acts as a “second opinion” for the physician. It can alert the physician to take a closer look at subtle warning signs that could not be detected easily without use of the technology.
Tyrone Hospital also provides evening appointments for mammograms to accommodate women’s work and school schedules.
Crouse said women can use the services at Tyrone Hospital regardless of where their doctor is located. “If Tyrone Hospital is listed as a participating provider with a person’s insurance, they can use Tyrone Hospital. Results of mammograms and sonograms can be sent to doctors throughout the area.”
Tyrone Hospital is a participating provider in most major insurances. To schedule a mammogram at Tyrone or for more information, call the hospital’s radiology department at 684-6385.