Archive for Saturday, October 6, 2001

10-6 LMH breast cancer info

October 6, 2001


Last year's dance raised more than $6,000 and provided more than 100 mammograms. This year's dance proceeds will be used to provide mammogram vouchers at Health Care Access for women in Douglas County lacking health insurance coverage and to provide medical equipment to support the expansion of the hospital's Oncology Center. Part of the proceeds will also go to help provide education and community outreach for early detection programs through Breast Cancer Action Inc.

The dance, which runs from 8 p.m. to midnight, will be held at the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive. Tickets are $20 per person and are available at the LMH gift shop, 325 Maine, or at the door.

"Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women," said Dianna Swatsenbarg, a registered nurse and member of the Breast Cancer Awareness Coalition, which plans the annual event. "The most powerful tool women have right now is early detection."

The American Cancer Society estimates nearly 192,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, resulting in more than 40,000 deaths.

"Almost everyone knows someone who has had a breast cancer scare or who has been affected by it in some other way," Swatsenbarg said. "Once it touches you, no matter how distantly, it changes your life."

The hospital uses a state-of-the-art mammotome machine that makes it possible to take a breast biopsy without open surgery. Breast biopsies performed using the mammotome machine usually take an hour and a half, a fraction of the time needed to undergo open surgery.

"Mammotome only requires a local anesthetic and it is much less painful than the alternative," said Dr. Gregory Orth, a radiologist.

Unlike traditional open biopsy, which requires a larger skin incision, a mammotome biopsy is done through a tiny "nick" in the skin. Multiple tissue samples can be taken with one insertion of the needle and are then sent to the laboratory for analysis and pathologic evaluation.

The procedure requires no stitches. Seventy to 80 percent of the biopsies find only benign abnormalities, not cancer, and no further surgical treatment is necessary.

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