DOVER-FOXCROFT - Mayo Regional Hospital's Imaging Center for Women has scheduled two special events during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October to improve access to mammograms for low-income women in the Penquis region.
On Oct. 16, Mayo is partnering with the Penobscot Breast and Cervical Health Coaltion to provide 10 free mammogram screenings at the hospital. Also as part of the Coalition's no-cost Women's Health Screening Day on that date, PAP smears and pelvic exams will be available at Penquis CAP Health Services offices in Dexter and Dover-Foxcroft. Contact the Coalition at 1-800-350-5180 for more information.
On Oct. 30, Mayo and Spectrum Radiology will provide 15 free mammograms at the hospital's Imaging Center for Women to women over the age of 35 who have no health insurance and have never had a mammogram before. Recipients will be referred by area physicians and Penquis CAP Health Services. Anyone needing a mammogram and who fits the guidelines may contact their physician to set up an appointment.
Mayo Regional offers mammography services Monday through Friday, and has added occasional Saturdays to meet demand. In addition, mammographic hours have been extended from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to better meet the needs of patients.
Mayo Regional in 1997 purchased and installed a state-of-the-art mammographic imaging system that improves the early detection of breast cancer. On Sept. 23 of this year, the hospital opened a new Imaging Center for Women in the recently constructed Ambulatory Services Unit wing.
The National Cancer Institute recommends that women receive a baseline mammogram at age 35, a mammogram every other year from age 35 through 50, and a yearly mammogram after age 50. Mammography is a low dose X-ray technique that is an important tool in the early diagnosis of breast cancer because it creates an image of the internal breast tissue on film. The resulting mammogram, which is then read by a radiologist, can detect extremely small lumps in tissue, those that may be too small to be felt during a breast self-examination or by a physician.
The earlier breast cancer is discovered, the better the chance for successful treatment and survival. Breast cancer, which strikes women of all ages and backgrounds, killed over 40,000 women in the United States last year.
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