Gala event will help fill community need: 3D mammography

augusta healthAugusta Health will celebrate 25 years of care to the community and kick-off the first of many celebrations on Friday, April 26 at a special gala event at Veritas Vineyards in Afton. Proceeds from the event will provide for breast cancer prevention through new 3D digital mammography.

“We are very excited to celebrate this milestone with board members, physicians, employees, volunteers, community leaders and friends of Augusta Health,” says Tami Radecke, Executive Director of the Augusta Health Foundation. “Having the proceeds from this event support the prevention of breast cancer is a bonus. 3D mammography is in high-demand by our community, as it is the most advanced technology available and is especially helpful in diagnosing dense breasts. At the current time, Augusta Health has a longer wait time for patients requesting a 3D mammogram.  We will add a second unit to accommodate and serve patients in our region.”

Dense breasts, which is when the breast has a higher concentration of connective and breast tissue compared to fatty tissue, is common.  According to research cited by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, 40-50% of women in the United States between the ages of 40 to 74 have dense breasts.  They are more common among younger females—about 50-60% of those ages 40 to 44 have dense breasts, compared to 20-30% in the 70 to 74 age range. About 50-60% of women at a healthy weight have dense breast compared to 20-30% of those who are obese.  Also, according to the research, those with high breast density are four to five times more likely to get breast cancer than those with low breast density.  Mammograms of dense breasts are harder to read, but 3D mammography provides a better image of the abnormalities and calcifications in dense breast tissue.

Katherine McCann of Churchville is a woman who has benefitted from the current 3D mammography unit.  In the course of moving to the area from West Virginia, she missed her mammogram and was about six-to-eight months past due.  Because she knew she had dense breasts and cancer in the family, and because she was having some breast pain, she chose a 3D mammogram.

“With the 3D mammogram, a very small but aggressive tumor was found,” she explains.  “It was so small, I couldn’t feel it.  I think it is possible that this tumor wouldn’t have been detected with a regular mammogram.  Because it was found at this early stage, I’m in treatment now.  Without the 3D, it could have been another year before the tumor was discovered.”

McCann, who is also a nurse and nurse educator, adds, “Everyone should have the benefit of the best technology.  If women knew the difference in technology, Augusta Health would need three of these units, not just two of them.”

To date, more than $110,000 has been secured in sponsorships for the Gala to provide for the new 3D mammography unit.  Those interested in making a gift may contact the Augusta Health Foundation at 540.332.5174, ahfoundation@augustahealth.com or visit the website, www.augustahealth.com/foundation/25th-anniversary.

The mission of the Augusta Health Foundation is to inspire community ownership through charitable giving to advance health and wellness in our region. The Foundation is the charitable arm of Augusta Health and supports essential patient care programs and services at Augusta Health, including Augusta Health Hospice of the Shenandoah.

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