Ribbon Cutting for Mammography Machine

CMC Welcomes New Service

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – A study published in the Oct. 6, 2015 of the medical journal, BMJ, stated a woman’s chances of surviving breast cancer partly depend on early detection.    

The study of nearly 174,000 Dutch breast cancer patients found that survival rates improved between 1999 and 2012 — and that included women with more advanced cancer. Still, women’s survival odds were best when their tumors were caught early, the researchers reported in the trade magazine.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. “When breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 100%. Early detection includes doing monthly breast self-exams, and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.”

The Crockett Medical Center (CMC) is doing its part to help keep up the breast cancer survival rate and just got a new tool in the fight against the cancer.

A ribbon cutting was held at CMC on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 8 to announce the Hologic Selenia Dimensions Mammography System was now online at the hospital and ready to serve the community.

Dr. Kelly Tjelemand, co-owner of CMC, welcomed those in attendance to the ceremony.

“We are so excited to finally announce the opening – after a tremendous amount of work – of our state-of-the-art, digital mammography center,” he said.

 Tjelemand explained this had taken a tremendous amount of effort from multiple individuals, the community of Crockett and the Houston County Hospital District Board of Directors.

“It’s great that we can coincide this with October – which is breast cancer awareness month. Pretty much anyone in this room probably has a family member, friend or acquaintance that has been touched by breast cancer. It is so prevalent. This is a truly important service that we have wanted to bring to Crockett since Day One,” he said. 

As he continued, Tjelemand singled out Karla Burdette – the CMC Director of Radiology – and Crockett City Administrator John Angerstein for their endeavors in securing the machine.

Once he concluded, the doctor yielded the podium to Angerstein who asked if George Crowson would come forward to provide an invocation.

Following the prayer, Angerstein addressed those in attendance.

“This is a special and exciting day for many reasons,” the city administrator began. “Primarily, for me, I get to archive a folder. All of the deadlines and the paperwork required behind this are small compared to the benefits our community will be able to receive.”

Angerstein indicated a grant came to his attention in the spring of 2018 through the Community Enhancement Fund which had points assigned to the applicants if it was an investment in rural healthcare. 

“We reached out to the hospital at that time – I believe it was (Hospital Administrator) Jeff Perry – and threw out some ideas about how we could invest in this. We came up with the program to invest in our mammogram department. There is definitely a need in our small town,” he said.

A little over a year later, a brand new mammography machine is now operational at CMC. 

Once Angerstein concluded, the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony to signify the opening of the state-of-the-art tool in the fight against breast cancer.

Prior to the ceremony, Liz Duarte, an account executive with Hologic spoke about the mammography machine.  

“Hologic is the manufacturer of Selenia Dimensions,” she said. “The Selenia Dimensions is our latest platform. Hologic is the innovator of tomosynthesis, which is a 3-D mammogram that uses a low-dose x-ray system and computer reconstructions to create three-dimensional images of the breasts,” she said.

Duarte indicated with 3-D technology, up to 65 percent more cancers were being found when compared to 2-D imaging.

“It also reduces false callbacks,” she added, “for patients who don’t really have anything. The efficiency in the hospital is much improved and the patients aren’t experiencing the anxiety of fearing they have something when they don’t.”

She said the system itself was not yet 3-D but she anticipated an upgrade in the not too distant future, given the machine had the capabilities to adapt to the 3-D technology software.

“It has a 3-D biopsy capability. It has a 3-D screening capability, a diagnostic capability and it also has the ability to do a contrast-enhanced digital mammography. That is the most recent technology,” Duarte said.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

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