Six years ago Barbara Rowe-Ballard of Queens Hospital Center had a mammogram that detected a tiny spot on her breast. It was cancer. She underwent breast cancer surgery and follow up treatment at Queens Hospital.
“It’s such a quick exam but it gave me a very long life,” Rowe-Ballard said of the mammogram. She began having regular mammograms more than 30 years ago because she had fiber cystic breasts.
“I’m a proud cancer survivor. Early detection saves lives! If you catch it early, it's treatable,” said Rowe-Ballard.
The public hospitals corporation has traditionally targeted May and Mother’s Day to conduct its annual breast cancer awareness campaign, and executive secretary Rowe-Ballard is among HHC staff members featured in the effort to stress the importance of annual mammograms and preventative screenings. As part of this year’s multi-media campaign, staff, patients and the public are encouraged to dedicate their mammograms to someone they love to raise awareness about the benefits of breast cancer prevention and early detection. They will be invited to post their dedications on “Dedication Walls” in the facilities or on the HHC Facebook and Twitter pages. The HHC logo will turn pink for the month of May to raise awareness.
Last year alone HHC doctors performed more than 101,000 mammograms. Women over 40 are actively encouraged to get regular screening mammograms regardless of their ability to pay or lack of health insurance. According to the New York City Health Department, 1,260 women die of breast cancer in New York City every year, yet 23 percent of women 40 and older have not had a recent mammogram.
“Mammograms are the most important tool for early detection of breast cancer, and HHC hospitals and health centers are committed to promoting and providing this life-saving screening at little or no cost,” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles.
Dr. Donna Gallagher of Queens Hospital said, “I dedicate my mammogram to all my patients because it’s important for us, women, to take care of other women with breast issues.”
“I dedicate my mammogram to all my patients because when they come in crying, we cry together. And when they’re in remission, we laugh together. That’s the best part of my job,” said Vivian Morgan, Radiology Supervisor in the Mammography Department at Queens Hospital.
This year’s campaign will feature a series of more than 90 education events at HHC’s 11 hospitals and six large health centers where the public, patients and staff are invited to learn more about this cancer screening exam and women over 40 are urged to schedule a mammogram. Patients and members of the public will be able to enter a contest on Facebook for a chance to win an iPad mini when they submit a 150-word mammogram dedication.
“As mothers, as wives, we can't take care of others if we don't take care of ourselves first,” Rowe-Ballard said.
|Sources: HHC, NYC Health Department, American Cancer Society|