St. Mary Medical Center Uses Technology To Bridge The Gap In Care For Breast Cancer Awareness And Treatment

By Staff Reports

(Apple Valley) St. Mary Medical Center (SMMC), part of the St. Joseph Health System (SJHS), is working to ensure that all women, regardless of accessibility, financial means or insurance have access to the latest technology in breast cancer prevention and treatment. Utilizing technology, SMMC continues to work toward the early detection and prevention of breast cancer, while also sponsoring community programs to ensure that the community has the best access to care and treatment.

“SMMC prides itself on being at the forefront of technology when it comes to breast cancer prevention and treatment,” said Marilyn Drone, Chief Nursing Officer.  “It is our mission to ensure that this technology can be utilized by residents in every community we serve – not just the ones who can afford it.”

One of the primary ways SMMC ensures the best preventative care is through its digital mammography services, which produce images of unsurpassed clarity and quality in a matter of seconds using high-resolution monitors. This technology enables physicians to change contrast and zoom in on specific areas of interest, providing greater accuracy in identifying potentially cancerous tissue. Digital mammography is rapidly being adopted by breast centers worldwide as the most reliable way to detect abnormalities in tissue.

In 2009, Connie Nutter received the mammogram that saved her life with help from the Bright Futures mobile van and Every Woman Counts programs at SMMC utilizing their digital mammography services. Nutter was employed by a small business at the time, but could not afford private insurance.  After hearing about SMMC’s Every Woman Counts Program that provides basic health services to uninsured

women, she was able to get a screening and later a digital mammogram – no questions asked. She was subsequently diagnosed with breast cancer.

“If not for the Every Woman Counts program and that mammogram, who knows how much longer I would have gone without a screening,” Nutter said. “Through Christ and programs like this that support people going through a bump in the road, there is hope.”

Nutter also received treatment at SMMC through the program, and felt so indebted to their services that she now gives back by facilitating SMMC’s Breast Cancer Support Group and sharing her story.

SMMC recently received a $55,000 grant from The Inland Empire Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® in August to help its community clinics and mobile van provide screenings and diagnostic services to uninsured women. SMMC is also offering $49 mammograms during the month of October.

Throughout the year many of the SJHS hospitals offer breast cancer support groups, community programs providing mammograms to uninsured women and fundraisers to continue in their continuum of care tradition. To find out more about SJHS’s breast cancer prevention or treatment programs or community outreach efforts, please visit our website or call your local SJHS location for details.
About St. Joseph Health System
The St. Joseph Health System (SJHS) is a $4.7 billion integrated Catholic healthcare delivery system sponsored by the St. Joseph Health Ministry. We provide a full range of care facilities including acute care hospitals, home health agencies, hospice care, outpatient services, skilled nursing facilities, community clinics, and physician organizations throughout California, Texas and New Mexico. Our 24,000 dedicated employees strive daily to provide perfect care while building the healthiest communities and ensuring every encounter is sacred. SJHS is committed to maintaining a continuum of care that matches the diverse needs of the communities we serve. For more information about SJHS, log onto www.stjoe.org.

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