MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. – Each year during October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Madigan Army Medical Center hosts an “Annual Saturday Breast Cancer Awareness Month Screening”, opening its Breast Imaging Center to patients on the weekend. This allows greater access for patients since Mammography is normally only open on weekdays.
Each year, healthcare professionals around the country combine their efforts to raise awareness about this issue which affects women and men alike. Breast cancer is sometimes found after symptoms appear, but there are some people with it who have no signs or symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is why regular breast cancer screening is incredibly important. The CDC reports approximately 250,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,300 in men annually. Roughly 42,000 women and 510 men in the U.S. die each year from breast cancer.
This year, Madigan’s 5th Annual Saturday Breast Cancer Screening event was held on October 24 at the Mammography Clinic in Madigan's Department of Radiology. There were decorations, handouts, and keepsakes for attendees with messaging marking the effort to raise awareness. To adhere to social distancing guidelines and other precautions taken to protect against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all patients were scheduled through extensive patient outreach efforts that balanced a sizable turnout, while prioritizing patient safety.
Stacey Rodriguez, the chief nurse of the Department of Soldier Readiness and Community Health, played a vital role in the success of the patient outreach and coordination.
“By mid-October, we already had 75 percent of the appointments filled. We had support between our population health nurses and care management team to identify and schedule patients leading up to the event,” said Rodriguez.
The Breast Imaging Section of Madigan Army Medical Center's Radiology Department received national recognition for its continued outstanding performance in breast ultrasound and ultrasound guided breast biopsies, mammography, stereotactic breast biopsies, and breast MRI. The American College of Radiology (ACR) awarded the section the maximum possible renewal of three years in the latest renewal cycle of these modalities.
Madigan's Breast Center is designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence (BICOE) by the ACR making it one of only two BICOEs in Tacoma, and one of only three BICOEs in the U.S. Army. To be a BICOE, a center must: "voluntarily [go] through a rigorous review process to be sure it meets [or exceeds] nationally accepted standards," according to the ACR website.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Madigan’s Mammography team is dedicated to providing access to care to its patients.
“We have been in full operation, even during the pandemic, putting in safeguards to keep our patients and staff safe and it’s been working; we encourage patients to come get your mammogram,” said Pari K. Burkhardt, the supervisor of Madigan’s Breast Imaging Center.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, with the exception of skin cancers. Currently, the average risk of a woman in the U.S. developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 13 percent. This means there is a one in eight chance she will develop breast cancer. This also means there is a seven in eight chance she will never have the disease.
Early detection saves lives; and increased access to screening could help save even more lives. At Madigan, “self-referrals” give patients the ability to schedule screenings without needing a referral from a provider. Madigan patients can call to schedule a screening or stop by the Mammography section’s front desk in Radiology to schedule a screening.
-For more information about Madigan’s Mammography services, visit; https://madigan.tricare.mil/Health-Services/Radiology/Mammography
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