We are in the midst of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Passavant Area Hospital has many local services available to women in the fight to diagnose, treat, and heal breast cancer. In 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S., along with 62,930 new cases of non-invasive diagnosis. According to breastcancer.org, about 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Three-quarters of all breast cancer cases occur in women over 50.
Jacksonville residents have some of the most up-to-date equipment in Passavant’s mammography department. Amanda Vortman, Lead Mammography Technologist, explains some of the technology available: “We have the 3D Mammogram Machine, which we’ve had for about 4 years now. It’s the most advanced technology you can have with a mammogram machine. We are using it routinely on everyone. There are a few insurance companies that don’t cover it, so we offer it to our patients. We also, in the last year, implemented what is called a ‘curved paddle’. What that does is conform to the breast shape a lot better than the paddles that we have used in the past. It helps to eliminate a lot of the stress that is caused from the compression in the process.”
Vortman said that various equipment within the department can aid in the detection of cancer. “The MRI machine can help with the staging of breast cancer. It’s not a screening tool for everyone. It’s primarily used for people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and its stage. We also used Ultrasound, which aids in detection and finding characteristics of certain breast cancers in order to give more information prior to having to perform a biopsy.”
Imaging Technologist Becky McClellan says that the Mia Ware Foundation, a local organization that focuses on the fight against breast cancer, has made it possible for any woman to come get a mammogram. McClellan also said that the foundation has aided in purchasing a number of things for the department, including the curved paddles and helping with the remodeling of the unit and purchase of equipment.
Vortman says that early detection is key. She urged self-exams to begin early because all women are susceptible to breast cancer at any time or any age, but especially over the age of 30.
About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of the disease. Detection is crucial in determining treatment and long term prognosis. You can go to the Passavant Area Hospital websit and fill out this form to request a mammogram.