Elmore community hospital

The harsh reality about breast cancer is that one in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime, said Heidi Smith, director of marketing for Ivy Creek Healthcare.

That’s why throughout the year, but especially in October, Elmore Community Hospital stresses early detection as the key to saving lives.

“The key to protection is early detection,” according to Smith.

That’s also why for the third year the hospital is offering two opportunities for women to receive a free mammogram. These 3D mammograms will take place by appointment only on Oct. 14 and Oct. 23 for women of all ages.

3D mammography is considered the newest technology in breast imaging. Smith said 3D mammograms are preferred over 2D because the image quality is much better, which allows for more conclusive results.

A study conducted by the Duke University Health System, showed that 3D imaging as opposed to 2D can be up to 30% more accurate at catching breast cancer early on, which ultimately improves the rate of survival.

Amanda Hannon, Ivy Creek chief operating officer, said the free service has proven to be more than worthwhile. Hannon said cancer was detected in a woman who took advantage of the service because she was curious about what it would be like to get a mammogram.

“She wouldn’t have turned 40 until the next year, so her cancer wouldn’t have been detected for possibly a year,” Hannon said. “Thankfully, it was detected early and she’s doing OK now.”

It’s recommended that women start getting mammograms at 40 years old. However, screenings may begin sooner for women who have a family history of breast cancer. Factors such as being a smoker, being overweight and having a family history increase a woman’s chance of being diagnosed with the disease.

While most people tend to think of breast cancer as a problem only women face, one in 100 men are diagnosed with the disease, and the risk is higher if there’s a family history of breast cancer.

Hannon stressed that there’s no age limit for the services offered on Oct. 14 and 23. About 40 women participated over the two-day period last year and the hospital is hoping to grow that number this year.

To schedule an appointment, call 334-514-3688.