The Woodward News

September 27, 2013

Hospital plans mammogram program

Rowynn Ricks
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — For women, getting a yearly mammogram isn't exactly something they look forward to.  But Woodward Regional Hospital is trying to change that.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this October the Woodward Regional Hospital (WRH) will once again be offering it's "Mammos, Massages & Munchies" program.

As part of the program, the hospital will be offering extended hours for women to schedule their mammograms at the WRH radiology department from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Tuesday evening in October.  And while women are waiting for their mammograms during that time, the hospital will also be offering them the opportunity to have a shoulder and/or neck massage and some healthy snacks.

"We want to make sure everyone gets their mammogram done, because if you're a woman over 40-years-old, you have to have an annual mammogram," said Sue Poulson, WRH director of radiology.  "But because a lot of women work and aren't able to come during normal business hours, we're extending the time and we're also trying to make it fun."

"Getting your yearly mammogram is a little bit of an uncomfortable situation," said Lori Messenger, WRH marketing director.  "So we're trying to make it as pleasant as possible.  We think that after a long day at work, women might enjoy a healthy snack and getting their neck and shoulders massaged. And we think they're more likely to make an appointment and get their life-saving mammogram if they can enjoy their evening while doing it."

Messenger said that she has 5 local massage therapists who have volunteered to provide the free massages during the event.

"They're very generous with us to donate their time," she said.

In addition to the massages and munchies, which will include fruit, cheese and crackers, Messenger said women will also have the opportunity to receive some door prizes while they wait for their mammograms.

Messenger and Poulson said this is the 4th year for the hospital to offer this special mammography promotion and participation in the program increases every year.

Thanks in part to the "Mammos, Massages & Munchies" program, Poulson said the hospital conducted 237 mammograms last October.

"People seem to enjoy coming," Messenger said.

Those wishing to participate in this year's program are encouraged to make an appointment by calling (580) 254-8402.

However, Poulson said that "an appointment is not necessary; we will work people in as we have time.  But we will still be seeing those who have appointments as close to their appointment times as we can."

She noted that the individual mammogram sessions usually don't last very long.

"For those who don't have much time, we can get them in and out as quickly as they want to, within 15 minutes sometimes, or they can stay and socialize if they want," she said.

The hospital offers digital mammography and currently uses "the newest software available on the market," Poulson said.

The digital images created from the mammogram are then read and analyzed by both a breast specialist radiologist and a computer, she said.

This computer-aided detection "is a bonus," Poulson said, "because not many places offer it and because the computer can pick up very small abnormalities, we're talking salt granule size."

When women come in to have their mammogram done, they need to bring their insurance card and driver's license or other form of ID, Messenger said.

However, she said, "if someone is uninsured, they can have their mammogram and reading by the radiologist for just $125.  And that's not just during this event, but for anytime in the year."