Over the years our local hospital has recognized October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in many different ways.

During the hospital Foundation's Pink Passion Campaign for the new digital mammography machine, when $110,000 was raised by the community, there were many events such as a Breast Cancer Walk, a Pink Passion Dinner and even a special walk called "Walk In My Shoes," where not only hospital staff and community members wore high heels but even some of our male doctors such as Dr. Henry Starkes, Dr. James Brown and Dr. Gordon Lum showed their support by walking in heels.

Womens health is very important to Orchard Hospital and while it is always important to have mammograms, this is the month that it is especially emphasized nationwide.

We hear of many women who have had an early diagnosis because of a reading on a mammogram that led to more successful treatment of a cancer diagnosis.

Orchard Hospital offers  a variety of women's health services including breast MRI's and diagnostic ultrasounds as a follow-up to a questionable finding in a mammogram. The hospital has always offered this service but has not always had a specialist who could read them at the hospital. With VRad as the new radiology team for Orchard Hospital breast MRI's can now be read by a sRadiologist specializing in women's health.

Breast MRI's are preferable for any women who have had radiation therapy to the chest especially when a provider has told their patient they will no longer have yearly mammograms, it doesn't mean they can't have an MRI.

It is especially important for women to have a mammogram if they have reached age 40 and never had one.

Of course it is important to note that men can also have breast cancer.

Women with dense breasts (or ladies in their 30's with family history of breast cancer) sometimes have ultrasound or a breast MRI in conjunction with a mammogram .

When the GE Digital mammography machine was purchased by the Orchard Hospital Foundation it was with the understanding that the machine could be later retrofitted to 3D capabilities and the time has come to see this happen.

"That is why we chose the GE brand to evolve with the future, CIO John Helvey stated.

Studies indicate that nationwide "call-back" rates are down approximately 30 percent because of the increased detail of 3D mammograms.

Orchard Hospital's Radiology team has visited both the Gridley Rotary and Quota Clubs this month to discuss digital mammography, the 64 slice CT and MRI outpatient service offering.

Another service Orchard Hospital offers at the Medical Specialty Center is Dexascan for bone density, something especially important for anyone who has family history of Osteoporosis. Dexascan is probably one of the easiest tests to have to evaluate for Osteoporosis and pre-cursor conditions.

Remember, early detection can save lives. Maximize the opportunity for early detection and get your  mammogram scheduled.