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Hospitals offering reduced-rate exams

By Staff
Kim West
In support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, area hospitals will be offering reduced-rate mammogram exams.
NBCAM was started in 1985 and is dedicated to raising awareness for the early dedication of breast cancer. According to the National Health Institute, approximately 182,460 female and 1,990 male breast cancer cases were estimated for 2008.
"Mammograms are a screening tool for breast cancer," said Melissa Chandler, an X-ray technician and registered mammographer at ECM East in Florence. "Women should be checked every year after age 40 and their first mammogram should be age 35."
Chandler said mammogram exams can be uncomfortable but they typically last less than 30 minutes.
"Mammograms are uncomfortable, unfortunately, but the more we can compress, the better picture we can get of the breast tissue," she said. "But it's less pressure than getting your blood pressure checked, and we'll take four pictures in all, two of each breast and then go out and check the images to make sure we included all the tissue.
"The mammogram itself takes about 20 to 30 minutes from the time you come through the door and leave. We have 30 days to get a (results) letter to patients but we usually send them within a week."
Russellville Hospital will offer a $50 promotional rate for mammograms throughout October. Patients must pre-register but they can schedule an appointment Monday through Friday by calling 332-8688.
Helen Keller Hospital will run a two-week rate of $40 from Oct. 13-24. Patients are encouraged to bring any previous mammogram information with them. To make a required scheduled appointment, call (256) 386-4516.
ECM East at 2111 Cloyd Blvd. in Florence has scheduled two screening dates in October with a $40 flat fee for an exam. To schedule an appointment, call (256) 768-8180.
"We will have mammogram screenings Oct. 9 and Oct. 16 with appointment times available between 4:15 p.m. and 7:40 p.m.," Chandler said. "If we need to, we will be glad to offer them on another Thursday but we still have 15 slots open.
"Mammograms usually cost $80 or more, and then there's a $20 or $30 radiological reading fee but the $40 fee covers all of that."