Early detection saves lives

The double sliding glass doors open and patients flood the waiting room and a remarkable sight is found: joy in the eyes and smiles on the faces of all those entering. In the air: a sense of connection and calmness between the patients and staff. St. Clair Hospital Breast Care Center has held free mammography events for our local community since 2014. The screening event is seasonal and typically occurs every April and September which leads up to October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And this year, amidst a global pandemic presenting new and unique hardships for the communities it serves, St. Clair Health is particularly proud to host events like this for you.

Annette Harris, Medical Imaging & Scheduling Coordinator at St. Clair Hospital Breast Care Center joined the group back in 2009. “I have worked for the Breast Care Center for roughly 12 years and have participated in this event since it started in 2014. My role is to assist in scheduling patients for their free mammogram which allows me to personally connect with each patient.”

“At this event, you always see repeat patients every year,” says Annette. “Previous patients receive a reminder letter and new patients often mention they see the event on Facebook.”

A mammography screening is no one’s favorite procedure, but a routine screening is crucial for women to receive every year starting at the age of 40 years old. The recommended age is different for women with strong family history. For women with previous medical history, screening can begin five years earlier than the recommended age or as early as when the family member was diagnosed.

Dr. Bibianna Klepchick, a Diagnostic Radiologist at the St. Clair Hospital Breast Care Center mentions, “When breast cancer is caught early, the treatment is often less severe and patient outcomes are markedly improved. Forgoing one or more years of a screening examination may result in a missed cancer that is more advanced and harder to treat successfully when it is discovered. The bottom line is that annual health screenings and specifically annual mammograms lead to early detection which saves lives. And at the St. Clair Breast Care Center, this is our mission every single day.”

Cynthia is a Breast Care Center patient who’s participated in the annual free mammography event since it originated in 2014. “I don’t know how I ever landed on the list, but one day I received the postcard in the mail, and ever since then the breast care center sends a reminder letter for my free mammogram screening.”

This event is more than just a free screening for most women, it helps patients gather more information about how they can maintain a healthy lifestyle and learn more about health-related services within the area.

Although many women are returning patients, we also had new faces that expressed their appreciation and amazement regarding how easy the process was for a free mammogram. “I used to be a regular patient at the Breast Care Center but recently I lost my health insurance. I was very thankful to hear that my previous doctor’s office had this type of event for the community and I was still able to have my annual screening completed, regardless of my insurance status,” said Mary, a Breast Care Center patient.

As the doors close and the lights dim after a selfless day’s work, it’s hard not to sit back and smell the roses. Each person was grateful for their expert care today and left the building feeling comfortable and reassured about maintaining their health regardless of their insurance status. At St. Clair Hospital Breast Care Center we thrive on providing education, early detection, treatment services and the most advanced diagnostic imaging technology in an environment of comfort and convenience.

To schedule your annual mammography screening or to find more information about St. Clair Hospital Breast Care Center, click here or call 412.942.7800.