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Boutique owner partners with ETMC to help make mammograms available

By Toni Garrard Clay
 Athens Mammo Fundraiser Kathy means 
Kathy Means 

For three years now, Kathy Means has focused on the month of October to join the fight against breast cancer, putting her business and her money into the event she calls Making a Difference in Henderson County.

“It’s a horrible disease,” said Means, who has not personally experienced breast cancer but has friends who have. “It’s a disease where many times early detection can save someone’s life, and we want to help that happen.”

Means is the owner of Kathy’s Boutique in Athens. Every October, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Means uses the boutique to raise funds to provide mammograms at ETMC Athens Breast Care Center for women who meet financial screening guidelines.

Falling between the cracks
“There are a lot of women who fall between the cracks (of government assistance programs), and that’s primarily who I see as the people we’d like to help,” explained Means.
 

ETMC Athens offers top-notch digital mammography unit 

ETMC Athens is now using a state-of-the-art full field digital mammography unit, having replaced the film-based imaging station. The difference is much like going from a 35 mm camera to a digital camera.

With the digital unit, images can be manipulated in a way that isn’t possible with film, and the image resolution is notably higher.

Once the images are captured, they are sent to a CAD program (Computer Aided Device) that “looks” at the images prior to the radiologist and identifies any areas of potential concern. From there, they are sent to a reading station where the radiologist examines them.

“We were already using CAD, but we couldn’t manipulate the images with the film-based units,” explained Radiology Department Director Richard Vasquez. “Now, if there’s an area of interest, the radiologist can make it lighter or darker or manipulate the contrast levels as needed.”

Women will also be happy to know the digital mammography unit has significantly shortened the amount of time it takes to actually capture the necessary images.
“We still have to compress, but the image comes up instantly now,” said Licensed Mammographer Shelly Robertson. “I can decide immediately whether it’s what we need or not.”

To schedule an appointment or for more information about the mammography system at the ETMC Athens Breast Care Center, please call 903-676-2169.

 


To raise the money to be used, Means asks people to buy and personalize hearts to be left on display at the boutique, as well as ETMC Athens.

“It’s like a tree of hope,” she explained. “Hearts are cut from pink paper and tied with a simple ribbon. Each person is asked to personalize the heart in honor of a survivor, in memory of someone lost, in support of someone fighting the battle or just for the cause.”
The hearts are $10 each. In addition, during the week of October 20th, 10 percent of all sales from the store – located at 122 N. Palestine Street – will be added to the money collected from the sale of the hearts.

Funds raised
The funds raised will go into a special account at the ETMC Foundation that will be utilized throughout the year to assist the ETMC Athens Breast Care Center and the women it serves.

“This is our third year for the Making a Difference in Henderson County event, and the results have been wonderful,” Means said. “Everyone likes the idea that the money is going to stay in Henderson County.”

“ETMC is thrilled to partner once again in Kathy’s efforts to promote the importance of mammography and to help ensure that mammograms are available to Henderson County women,” said ETMC Foundation Director Marty Wiggins. “Her October outreach will touch many lives – and potentially save a life – as together we fight breast cancer in the
community. Kathy is an inspiration as to what one woman can do!”

Applying for assistance and scheduling a mammogramTo apply for financial assistance in obtaining a mammogram, please contact ETMC Athens Financial Counselor Bailey Bishop at 903-676-1155.

To schedule an appointment without applying for financial assistance or for more information about the mammography system at the ETMC Athens Breast Care Center, please call 903-676-2169.

ETMC Athens is now using a state-of-the-art full field digital mammography unit, which has replaced the film-based imaging station. The difference is much like going from a 35 mm camera to a digital camera.
The digital mammography unit has significantly shortened the amount of time it takes to actually capture the necessary images.

“We still have to compress, but the image comes up instantly now,” said Licensed Mammographer Shelly Robertson. “I can decide immediately whether it’s what we need or not.”

The American Cancer Society recommends women from the ages of 20 to 39 have clinical breast exams performed by their healthcare providers at least every three years and do self-exams once a month. Ask your healthcare provider to teach you the proper way to perform a thorough breast self-exam.

Women 40 and over should have mammograms and clinical breast exams performed every year, as well as performing breast self-exams each month.
If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, discuss mammography screening guidelines and scheduling with your healthcare provider.