Offense is the best breast cancer defense

The pink month of October got off to a strong start with a big wave of breast–cancer-awareness activities breaking over the nation. With all of the conflicting opinions about screening mammography circulating in the medical community, the entire month of October provides a conspicuous opportunity for radiology practices to partner with other specialties, hospitals, payors and the community to heighten awareness around the importance of early breast-cancer detection.

The ACR and the Society of Breast Imaging went on the offense for mammography right out of the gate, kicking off the month with a conference call in which Barbara Monsees, MD, and Debra Monticciolo, MD, discussed screening guidelines and tools. The two organizations also partnered on an October 1 radio media tour of 17 large-market radio stations, making available seven prominent breast imagers who did back-to-back interviews, in English and Spanish, all day long.

Everyone, it seems, is getting into the act: Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina bought naming rights to Charlotte’s NASCAR fall race, choosing Race to a Cure.  The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District wrapped one of its engines in pink, with the intent of bringing a smile to the face of anyone battling breast cancer. The Corpus Christi Caller Times printed its October 1 issue on pink paper stock. (Unfortunately, that paper has a firewall that prevented me from discovering and sharing details on Corpus Christi-based Radiology Associate’s Operation Empty Pink Chair.  All that I can say is that the chair moves around town taking up residence in front of a different business each day—very poignant!)

Shelby Memorial Hospital’s radiology department in Illinois offered extended operating hours for the month of October so that working women could get a mammogram more conveniently. Wilkes Barre General Hospital in Pennsylvania held a Mammothon to call women who were overdue for a mammogram. Madison Memorial Hospital and Teton Radiology Madison in Idaho held a Break for Breakfast in the hospital parking lot, and women on their way to work didn’t even have to get out of their car. At the first station, women received a breakfast to go; at the second, information on early detection and prevention; and at the third, they received a gift.

Richard Bentley, MD, of Teton Radiology, summed it up succinctly for the local Standard Journal: “The ultimate goal is to remind all women to get a mammogram yearly after age 40 because early detection is truly the best protection.”

Cheryl Proval