FORT SILL, Okla.-- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Reynolds Army Community Hospital is celebrating with a new mammography machine in radiology.

"The new machine was installed last week," said Joyce Powell, mammography supervisor. "We went from film to digital images, which means much faster results for our patients."

The new machine features a computer that provides medical professionals high-resolution images displayed on a monitor.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, breast cancer is one of the leading killers among women. Early detection can prevent death in more than 80 percent of cases.

"The new Selenia Dimensions mammography machine detects abnormalities in the breast up to three years before you would feel anything in a self-breast exam."

All women who are at least 40 years old should obtain a yearly mammogram.

"Any woman who has a family member, mother, sister or daughter, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer should start getting screenings 10 years earlier than that person was diagnosed," explained Powell. "If your mother was 42 when she was diagnosed, you should start being screened at 32."

The new self-referral program in radiology makes scheduling an easy appointment.

"Anybody can call and make their own appointment for a screening," said Powell. "You don't have to see your PCM first, then wait for a phone call telling you when your appointment is.

"The new machine we have is the best available. You can't get better results from any other mammography machine."

During October, the radiology clinic will offer extended hours for breast cancer screenings.

"All of our staff are women," said Powell. "We want patients to feel as comfortable and confident as possible."