October is Reduced-Rate Mammography Month, in Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness
October 2017, Wrangell - October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and one way that Wrangell Medical Center encourages women to focus on this important healthcare issue is by offering reduced rate mammograms. Local women can save over $200 dollars, more than 30%, off the regular price of a mammogram at WMC during the month of October.
Ann Kramer, head of the Imaging Department at WMC, describes the mammography process, “Women age 40 and older may self-request a screening mammogram by calling the WMC Imaging department at 874-7128 to set up an appointment. Then, at the given time, check in with the receptionist at the medical center’s front desk and one of the imaging staff will bring you back to the mammography area.”
Kramer adds that the actual screening takes less than 10 minutes, but plan on 20 minutes to half an hour for the whole process. She stresses that reduced-rate mammograms are for screenings only, “if you have unusual lumps and bumps or any pain in the breast, then it is important to speak with a physician about getting a diagnostic mammogram.”
“We will need the name of the clinician that you wish to have the mammogram results sent to,” says Kramer, “If your most recent mammogram was performed at another facility than WMC, we will need to send for those films and reports before scheduling you. Also, please don’t wear deodorant or heavy lotions – they may give a false reading.”
Just as photos from different cameras make the same landscape look different, so too there are differences between mammography. “Folks sometimes think it is better to get mammograms from different places from one year to the next, but what is essential to the person reading the mammogram is to have prior mammogram studies for comparison,” says Kramer, “The radiologist is then comparing apples to apples when looking for differences between one year and the next.”
“You will receive a copy of your mammogram report with a cover letter within two weeks,” adds Kramer.
In addition to having an annual screening mammogram, women can be proactive against the disease by performing monthly self examinations, having clinical examinations (performed by a qualified nurse or doctor), practicing healthy eating habits and maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption and giving up tobacco. The National Breast Cancer Foundation (www.nationalbreastcancer.org) has information about creating an early detection plan and more detailed information about breast cancer symptoms and types.
The American Cancer Society speaks to the need for early detection, “most doctors feel that early detection tests for breast cancer save thousands of lives each year, and that many more lives could be saved if even more women and their health care providers took advantage of these tests.”
Wrangell Medical Center Goes Smoke-Free
September 2017- The ‘smoke shack’, a glass enclosure used by Long Term Care residents and patients who were smokers, has begun its new life as a security office for the Borough’s Harbor Department. With the recent move to becoming a smoke-free facility, WMC no longer had need for the shack which has been repurposed for use on the cruise ship dock, replacing the existing wood structure.
“This move to becoming a smoke free facility has been a process, but with a few recent changes, it is an opportune time to further this transition,” noted WMC CEO Robert Rang. The next step, according to Rang, is for the facility to become a smoke free campus.
“We’re a healthcare facility. It just makes sense that we would want to provide a smoke free environment for not only residents and patients, but also our staff,” explained Rang at a recent staff meeting.
Many hospitals in Alaska and the nation have made the move to becoming smoke free so WMC has a number of examples to look to when it comes to helping smokers make the transition. It does mean that WMC will no longer be accepting long term care residents who are smokers, WMC will also continue to support staff who wish to quit smoking by making smoking cessation materials available.
“It is likely the state will be passing a smoke-free law within the next few years,” notes Rang, “we’re just trying to be a bit more proactive and help our community be that much healthier.”
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