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Mammogram message: Early detection is best

By Staff | Oct 20, 2011

The Cape Coral Police Department and the Radiology Regional Center partnered Wednesday to focus on breast cancer awareness.

The center operates the Mobile Mammo bus, which is a customized, mobile breast imaging clinic that uses the latest technology in digital mammography. It provides a convenient way for women to have their yearly mammography.

Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., the bus set up outside of police headquarters, offering department employees – sworn officers and civilians – screenings. Employees could set up an appointment, or sign up Wednesday as a walk in.

Jodi Dambrosio, a mammographer technologist with the center who was working the bus, explained that early detection can mean the difference between facing a minor surgery or a major surgery, like a mastectomy.

“Early detection is best,” she said.

The American Cancer Society estimates that one-third of all breast cancer deaths in America each year could be prevented by early detection. Nine out of 10 women can survive it if the disease is detected at its earliest stages.

Women should get their first baseline mammography at 38 if there is no history of breast cancer among their immediate family members. For age 40 and older, it is recommended that women get screened on an annual basis.

“We have found that most women won’t just go on their own,” Dambrosio said of why the center sends the bus to various locations in the community.

For Pamela Clarke, with CCPD’s communications, she had her last screening five years ago and meant to do it again, but she just never got around to it. When Clarke found out that the bus was coming, she set up an appointment.

“They made it so easy for us to have it done,” she said following her screening Wednesday. “There’s no excuse to put it on the back burner.”

Clarke explained that the screening took about 10 minutes, and the results will be sent to her doctor in about 10 days. Clarke also will get a copy, which she appreciated because she does not have to wait to hear from her doctor.

“I would love to see this on a yearly basis,” Clarke said of the bus event. “It’s the greatest thing. It’s going to make a world of difference.”

Clarke recently lost a friend to breast cancer. If the Mobile Mammo had not stopped by, she did not know when she would have had her next screening.

“I, myself, would not have gotten it done,” Clarke said.

The American Cancer Society reports that about one out of every eight women develops breast cancer in the course of her lifetime. It ranks second as the cause of cancer deaths, claiming more than 40,000 lives each year.

According to Radiology Regional staffers, 22 women had signed up for an appointment Wednesday. As of about noon, there also had been one walk in.

Dambrosio explained that typically two images are taken of each breast – women with implants are OK – then a radiologist reviews the X-rays.

Those not eligible include pregnant or breast feeding women, and those with current breast symptoms, like lumps, unusual nipple discharge or dimpling.

A discounted price of $150 is offered to self-pay patients, but Radiology Regional is a contracted provider with most health insurance carriers. Co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance payments are due at time of service.

The center maintains a permanent digital record at its facility.

“We value our employees and their families here at CCPD, and when Radiology Regional reached out to us with this opportunity, we jumped on it,” Lt. Tony Sizemore wrote in a prepared statement. “Our employees have been directly affected, as have members of our families, by this disease.”

“Anything we can do to help, we’re (going to) do it,” he continued. “We’re proud to participate in breast cancer awareness month in this proactive way.”

For more information about the Mobile Mammo bus or to find a location nearest you, call 936-2316 or visit online: www.radiologyregional.com.