Thirty-six uninsured and underinsured women came to Botsford’s Lucille and Dr. Louis Spagnuolo Breast Center for mammograms at our fourth annual Breast Screening Day. CBS EcoMedia Inc. funded our event as the lead sponsor.
Watch a great video here from CBS EcoMedia narrated by The Botsford Foundation’s Executive Director Margo Gorchow.
Mammograms can be only the first part of the breast cancer screening process. Typically, about 10 percent of patients screened are called back for a second mammogram due to suspicious findings. At our event, Botsford radiologists read the mammograms before the patient left, saving the women the worry about their mammogram results. Twenty women, or 56 percent (more than five times the average), who otherwise would have had to return for a second mammogram, were examined on the spot by Dr. Cynthia Sandona, a deeply compassionate Botsford surgeon who works with many breast cancer patients. Six of these 20 also needed a breast ultrasound, and one was received a biopsy, which thankfully was negative.
These women came to us from 22 metropolitan Detroit communities, travelling up to 40 miles. Three were younger than 40 (two of whom needed a breast ultrasound after their mammograms), 13 were in their 40s, 15 in their 50s, and five in their 60s. Among them was a breast cancer survivor whose mammogram showed no recurrence happily.
While national guidelines do not recommend mammograms for women younger than 40, Dr. Sandona encouraged inclusion of younger women with concerns about their breast health. Two of the three patients younger than 40 needed additional imaging, which supports the wisdom of Dr. Sandona’s approach.
My staff at the Breast Center and I worked to make it a positive experience for these women by creating an upbeat atmosphere. We greeted the women in the lobby, offering them fresh fruit, baked goods, and beverages*. After check in, each was immediately given her mammogram. My staff gave them gifts, which had been solicited from area businesses by our coworkers at the Botsford Cancer Center. Our special treatment made each woman feel important in her own way.
They really appreciated our efforts as well as the chance to have a mammogram. One said she was surprised by how painless the procedure was: “The radiologist was also very pleasant. I received a discounted, basically free, mammogram, because I am unemployed and without health insurance, but I was treated like a queen. Thanks so much! I really need this opportunity—I did not have a mammogram last year, and the mammogram this year was good. I feel better with the reassurance of this test. God bless Botsford!”
We could have accommodated more patients that day, but the smaller number who registered allowed us to spend more time with each woman. While the number of patients screened was fewer than we expected, the number requiring follow-up was more than usual.
Donations of refreshments provided by Hologic, Inc., and Healthwise Home Health Care, Inc.