(January 17, 2012) Sioux Center Community Hospital & Health Center Avera has purchased new digital mammography equipment to better detect early signs of breast cancer. The new state-of-the-art equipment will be available starting January 18, 2012 in Sioux Center.

Dr. Julie McKay, the Radiologist at the hospital, says the new equipment has many advantages including the ability to capture crisp and clear images while improving the speed and process of storing those images. 

“The ability to adjust contrast on the mammographic images is very beneficial, particularly when evaluating dense breast tissue,” said Dr. McKay. “Many rural facilities and patients are realizing the benefits of digital mammography.”

If you are a woman over the age of 40, breast disease should be one of your primary health concerns. One out of eight women who lives to age 85 will develop breast cancer at some point in her life. If breast cancer is discovered early, your chances for survival are greater than 90 percent. A mammogram, or breast X-ray, may allow breast cancer to be detected several years before it may be felt by self-examination.

Dr. McKay recommends that women schedule their mammogram during the month of their birthday to make it easier to remember. Health insurance typically will cover the cost of the mammogram every calendar year so it is important to maintain a consistent yearly screening process. For those interested in scheduling an appointment, you can now call radiology directly at 722-PINK.

Last year, Sioux Center Community Hospital & Health Center Avera provided 843 screening and diagnostic mammograms and is expecting to surpass those numbers with new digital mammography equipment.

“During our community-wide focus groups we heard many residents requesting more services close to home,” says Kayleen Lee, Chief Executive Officer. “This brings us one step closer to providing the most up-to-date technology for our community and fulfilling our mission of providing optimal health care and outreach services.”
The total cost of the equipment is $350,000 which becomes a considerable investment for a non-profit organization like the Sioux Center Community Hospital & Health Center. The overall cost to the health system is expected to be $210,000 after raising funds from the community and sharing a portion of the equipment expense with another Avera managed facility.

Ken Smit, Foundation Director, said the health system raised just over $115,000 during the Thanksgiving Appeal in 2010 that went toward the purchase of the new mammography equipment.

“It was a very successful campaign that received a tremendous amount of support from the community,” said Ken. “As always, our community does a great job raising funds for our health ministry and helps us purchase the latest technology needed to provide the best care in a rural setting.”

The health system is planning a “Paint the Gym Pink” night on Friday, February 3 to raise awareness of breast cancer during the Sioux Center vs. Sheldon basketball games. The health system and American State Bank purchased pink jerseys for the girls’ basketball team and the boys team will be wearing pink warm-up shirts.

The health system and High School Key Club are selling “Get Your Pink On” t-shirts throughout the community to help support this initiative. All proceeds will go toward the new digital mammography equipment and the High School Fine Arts department in memory of Mary Bleeker. To order a pink t-shirt, you can contact Cheryl Sneller at 722-8197 or any High School Key Club member. The deadline to order t-shirts is Friday, January 20.