Although breast cancer is a scary reality for some women, fear and misinformation drive many women to conduct “search and destroy” missions on their breasts. The reality is that most women will not die from breast cancer. Improved treatment options (many of which have fewer side effects and are better targeted toward just the breast) have significantly reduced the death rate in women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. All women can take steps to maintain breast health and lower their chances of developing breast cancer. In fact, the American Institute of Cancer Research reports that 70,000 cases of breast cancer per year (40 percent) could be prevented with lifestyle measures.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosis in women, and age is the biggest risk factor. The likelihood that a woman will develop breast cancer increases from 1 in 1,732 for a 20-year-old to 1 in 26 at 70.
Decatur County Memorial Hospital has worked hard over the years to encourage annual mammogram screenings and help educate women on early prevention/detection. Carol Blasdel and the Mammography Department has discovered that a lot of working women put themselves last and simply “do not have time” to receive a mammogram.
Carol commented, “Women put their jobs and families before their own health. That is why we often find breast cancers late, after they can be felt, because women do not take the time to take care of themselves by getting screening mammograms and doing self-breast exams.”
Carol and Decatur County Memorial Hospital partnered with a major corporation in Greensburg, GECOM, and realized the need for working women to receive an annual mammogram. In 1996, 100 women were given transportation from work to the hospital and received their screening, all while they are working and on the clock.
“No other business in Greensburg has done this,” Carol added, “If additional testing is needed, GECOM also allows them to come during their working hours.”
Mammograms are performed for all three shifts. Associates are transported to and from the hospital courtesy of GECOM.
GECOM Benefits Administrator Sharon Howard said, “This program is not just a saving of future healthcare dollars but a long term investment to our associates. Our women have shared with GECOM that mammograms would be put off, if not having the opportunity for us allowing appointments during work. Associates are very appreciative of this program knowing that mammograms are being completed each year in May.”
DCMH provides mammograms to both GECOM associates and their spouses. In 2018 alone, there were 160 mammograms completed by this program. DCMH also provides a doorprize drawing each year for all GECOM associates who received mammograms. Participants are excited at the thought of winning one of the prizes and being recognized.
Carol Blasdel said, “I have worked with many different organizations since I started here in 1979 and I have to say that Sharon Howard and her staff at GECOM are probably the most dedicated employers I have worked with. Sharon has been determined to offer the screening mammograms to her employees since 1997. It is always a big project that takes much planning to prepare and execute so the employees are away from the work place the least amount of time possible. Here at DCMH, we always strive to make these employees feel like they are not on “an assembly line” while performing the best mammogram possible. It has been a joy to work with Sharon and GECOM over the years.”
Decatur County Memorial Hospital provides patients with the best available mammograms in the southeastern Indiana. Statistics show that the mortality rate for breast cancer can be significantly reduced with routine screening mammography. If you would like more information about our Digital and 3-D Mammography services, visit www.dcmh.net. To schedule your annual mammogram, please call 812.663.1266.