"Light the Fight" Against Breast Cancer
A promotion in pink to encourage mammography screenings
One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually.
Mammography is the most important tool for detecting breast cancer early - providing for easier treatment and better chances of a cure.
Still, convincing women of the vital importance of an annual mammography remains a challenge. That's why, for the second year in a row, OSF HealthCare is lighting the way with our "Light the Fight" campaign. Through the month of October, OSF medical centers and facilities will be bathed in pink to remind women to get an annual breast cancer screening - especially if they're 40 or older.
In fact, risk factors increase with age. Another consideration is family history.
"So, it is important to get screened with mammograms," says Samantha Miller, Lead Technologist, Mammography for OSF HealthCare Center for Health - Streator. "Even having no risk factors at all, eighty percent of people diagnosed with breast cancer have no history. So, even those women - it's important."
Objections to getting a mammography vary, but topping the list is the discomfort, some say pain, of the screening. However, advancements in equipment and techniques - like newly designed paddles and 3-D mammography - have made that excuse nearly moot.
"Each year our equipment is newer, we get better training," says Allison Gleason, Supervisor of Mammography at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center. "We've got new paddles now here at OSF that are called SmartCurve. And they, actually, are curved to the shape of a woman's breast versus being flat. That helps alleviate a lot of the pain in having a mammogram."
"Even tissue that doesn't have a lot of complicated structures to see through we can still see the breast tissue one slice at a time with 3D," says Samantha Miller, Lead Technologist, Mammography for OSF HealthCare Center for Health - Streator. "And we have diagnosed breast cancer in people who have tissue that isn't complicated or very dense. So, where we may not have picked up on a small cancer without the 3D technology. So, even people with tissue that isn't very dense can benefit from 3D."
It is also advised women, of any age, consider genetic testing - which is also offered by OSF.
"We ask you a series of quick questions - it takes about five minutes in the room with your technologist," says Allison Gleason, Supervisor of Mammography at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center. "And we just ask some of your family history background. If anyone has had any type of cancer and at what age. And some of your other, kind of, personal history. And then that at the end of the survey will let us know if you are at high risk or not. And then we will refer you then to the cancer center for further testing."
While the technology offered varies, mammography is available at all OSF HealthCare medical centers and hospitals, as well as dozens of clinics across our coverage areas in Illinois and the UP of Michigan. Some locations even offer walk-in mammograms. Just look for the pink lights.