Tag Archives: mammogram

Breast cancer survivors speak out

The health care professionals at Ringgold County Hospital strongly encourage all women over the age of 40 to have an annual mammogram. It’s a simple, noninvasive procedure. “It’s only 10 minutes,” said Shelly Shields, medical imaging manager. “But those 10 minutes can save your life.” The 3D Mammography machine brings the most advanced imaging available today to the area. Patients don’t have to travel to get the best of the best. “The convenience of it being right here means we’re detecting more breast cancers, earlier,” said Shelly. “Early detection is what saves lives.”

Becky Andrews

Becky Andrews

“It’s my firm belief that everyone should get an annual mammogram. I usually get one every year on my birthday in August. But for some reason, I waited until December in 2018. If it weren’t for the 3-D machine, we never would have found the cancers. I had cancer in both breasts. “It was a big blessing that I didn’t have to do chemo. I had surgery in early 2019 along with radiation. For the next five years, I’ll take a pill as a preventative measure to prevent future cancer. But that’s it! I’m feeling good and doing well. Having a positive attitude is key. I knew that God would take care of me.”

Diane Wood

Diane Wood

“I’ve had a mammogram every year since I turned 40 because I have a family history of breast cancer. My mother, my grandmother and my grandmother’s five sisters all had it. Three years ago, when I was 69, my mammogram indicated stage one breast cancer.

“The doctor recommended a lumpectomy, but because of my family history, I opted for a double mastectomy. I had no radiation and no chemo and I’m feeling really good. My advice? Get a mammogram every year!”

Debbie Bradley

Debbie Bradley

“I’m very fortunate. Thirty-some years ago I became eligible to have regular mammograms through my insurance company. I started immediately and have never missed one. I lost a dear aunt to breast cancer and her memory was my motivation. In recent years, my husband and I have been going to Ringgold County Hospital for all our medical needs. When it was time for a mammogram in 2019, RCH had just installed a 3-D machine. They credit that machine for finding the cancer. It was really early detection and wasn’t even stage one yet. I was 73 years old. “My surgery was a lumpectomy and removal of three lymph nodes. That was followed by several radiation treatments. I received wonderful care from start to finish and recovered quickly. After my 2020 follow-up mammogram, I received a letter from RCH stating, “Your recent breast imaging showed an area that we believe is probably benign (probably not cancer). However, in six months, you should have a follow-up imaging to confirm that this area has not changed. “You can bet that I will be there in six months.”

Print and Read the Full Story – October Newsletter

Mammograms Make Sense

It’s breast Cancer Awareness Month, and once again the health care professionals at Ringgold County Hospital are strongly encouraging all women over the age of 40 to have an annual mammogram. It’s a simple, non-invasive procedure. “It’s only 10 minutes,” said Shelly Shields, medical imaging manager. “But those 10 minutes can save your life.”

Kelsey Mullins, left, and Shelly Shields, right

Why get a mammogram? Breast cancers found during a mammogram are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast. Finding breast cancer early (called early detection) can improve the chances that breast cancer can be treated successfully and with more treatment options, less extensive surgery, and ultimately, better treatment outcomes.

Who should get screened? The American Cancer Society’s breast cancer screening guidelines vary based on a woman’s age and risk factors for breast cancer. It’s generally agreed that annual mammograms for women over the age of 40 are recommended. Talk to your doctor about the screening plan that is best for you. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages. The American Cancer Society encourages women to make healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and reducing alcohol intake. These choices can help reduce their breast cancer risk. The American Cancer Society also encourages regular
screenings to find breast cancer early, when it is most likely to be curable.

The big news in breast cancer detection is the 3D Mammography machine. Ringgold County Hospital acquired one a couple of years ago. “We decided the benefits far outweighed the costs. We really wanted to get it for our community,” said Shelly. The 3D Mammography machine brings the most advanced imaging available today to the area. Patients don’t have to travel to get the best of the best. “The convenience of it being right here means we’re detecting more breast cancers, earlier,” said Shelly. “Early detection is what saves lives.” The machine’s sophistication also means fewer women need to come back for a second set of images. “It’s low-dose radiation, and it reduces call-backs by 40%.” At Ringgold County Hospital, the benefits of high-tech imaging come with outstanding patient care. Shelly and Kelsey have been doing mammograms and other imaging for 30 years. Our patients are our friends, neighbors and family. “We want to help them be comfortable. Their experience is so important to us.” To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 641-464-4400.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The health care professionals at Ringgold County Hospital are strongly encouraging all women over the age of 40 to have an annual mammogram. It’s a simple, noninvasive procedure. “It’s only 10 minutes,” said Shelly Shields, medical imaging manager. “But those 10 minutes can save your life.” The big news in breast cancer detection is the 3D Mammography machine. Ringgold County Hospital acquired one earlier this year. “We decided the benefits far outweighed the costs. We really wanted to get it for our community.”

The 3D Mammography machine brings the most advanced imaging available today to the area. Patients don’t have to travel to get the best of the best. “The convenience of it being right here means we’re detecting more breast cancers, earlier,” said Shelly. “Early detection is what saves lives.” The machine’s sophistication also means fewer women need to come back for a second set of images. “It’s low-dose radiation, and it reduces call-backs by 40%.”

At Ringgold County Hospital, the benefits of high-tech imaging come with outstanding patient care. Shelly has been doing mammograms and other imaging for 30 years. Her patients are her friends, neighbors and family. “I want to take care of my patients,” said Shelly. “I want to help them be comfortable. Their experience is so important to me.”

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 641-464-4400.

RCH Now Offers 3D Mammography

Kelsey Mullins, RT (R)(CT)(M) and Shelly Shields, RT (R)(CT)(MR) showcase the GeniusTM 3D MammographyTM unit

The Genius 3D Mammography exam is a revolutionary new screening and diagnostic tool designed for early breast cancer detection. It is performed in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram. During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple images. Then a computer uses these images to produce a 3D image of the breast tissue, providing greater detail for the radiologist.

There are many benefits of 3D mammography including earlier and easier detection. With conventional mammography the radiologist is viewing the breast tissue in a flat image. Sometimes this tissue appears overlapped, making it difficult to see all the individual structures. With 3D mammography, the doctor can now see the different structures as well as the location, size and shape of any abnormal tissue, such as small cancers. The Hologic Genius 3D Mammography exam also reduces callbacks by up to 40% compared to 2D mammography alone.  In the past, if the radiologist saw an area that was questionable, the patient would be asked to return for additional imaging. By being able to see the breast tissue in smaller, thinner sections, the “second look” might not be necessary.

Very low X-ray energy is used during a 3D exam. This means the amount of radiation is below the recommended guidelines of the American College of Radiology (ACR) and is just slightly higher than digital 2D mammography alone. Breast Tomosynthesis (3D mammography) is approved for use by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). A 3D mammography exam is an optional addition to a traditional 2D digital mammography exam. Click here to print and read the full article.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call the Imaging Department at 641-464-4400.

A Mammogram Saved Her Life

2016lindawinklerAs a physical therapist and former Ringgold County Hospital employee, Linda Winkler knows the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. “I’ve always exercised and tried to eat well and maintain my weight,” she said. Along with diet and exercise, she had regular physicals and added annual mammograms when she turned 40. In her early 40s, a mammogram showed a lump in her breast, but luckily, it proved to be benign.

A few years later in 2003, she wasn’t as lucky. As a result of her annual
screening a lump was found that turned out to be cancer. After meeting with her oncologist and her surgeon at RCH, they developed a treatment plan that included a lumpectomy and radiation. The team determined that she didn’t need chemotherapy. “I had two surgeries,” recalled Linda. “Then I had 37 radiation treatments.” Talk about convenient! She was back at work two days after the surgeries and could walk down the hallway and have the OR nurses help her with her dressings. “You have to be completely healed before you can begin radiation,” she explained. The radiation caused a bit of dehydration and she drank “tons and tons of water”, but that was the extent of the side effects. By August, a mere four months after her breast cancer discovery, she was declared cancer free.

She is now on medication designed to keep breast cancer from returning and maintains her annual appointments for mammograms and complete physicals, just to be sure. After retiring from Ringgold County Hospital this past March, Linda has been enjoying more time with her two daughters and their families. In late September, she was headed to San Antonio for a grandson’s fifth birthday. “I’m so fortunate to be cancer free and able to enjoy retirement with my grandchildren,” she said. “The exceptional care I received from the staff at Ringgold County Hospital made the whole experience a little more bearable. I really encourage all women to include a mammogram in their annual health care planning.”