By Allison Vo, RN, BSN, OCN
Cancer Program Manager
Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Picture this. It’s 7 p.m. Monday evening. You’re headed to the breast imaging center to have your mammogram. You pull your car up to the entrance and are met by a friendly valet who parks your car. An escort guides you to the imaging center where you are greeted by a friendly staff member who offers you a mock-tail (an alcohol-free beverage) and healthy snacks such as fruit, cheese, and crackers. You’re then ushered into a private room where you slip into a fluffy pink robe to the strains of soft music and aromatherapy. As you wind down, a nurse navigator introduces herself and takes you to the imaging suite, where a caring technician explains what the mammogram involves and what to expect. After the procedure, you change into your street clothes and are escorted back to the lounge where you receive a chair massage and hand scrub. Amid congratulations for taking time to care for yourself and your health, you are offered a freshly cut gerbera daisy, a bag of pink M&Ms, and a chilled bottle of water for the ride home. Perhaps best of all, you’re assured that you will receive your test results via a personal call within 24 hours. Not your mother’s mammogram experience, you say? Welcome to Monday Night Mammos at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
What began as a pilot program in early 2012 has become a much-anticipated event by women who have come to rely on Methodist Dallas for their well-being. Women have told us they love the experience, not a usual response when asked to describe their last mammogram.
By adding relaxation and pampering to the mammography experience, we’ve managed to strike a chord that resonates with women of all ages. “Finally, I don’t dread getting a mammogram,” one woman told me. “You treated me like a queen,” another said. The personal, caring touch is a hallmark of the entire mammography experience. And I think we’re onto something!
While the extra touches set the Methodist Dallas mammography experience apart from other area imaging centers, state-of-the-art digital technology and medical expertise are the foundation of our breast screening program. If, for some reason, the mammogram shows abnormal results, our breast health nurse navigator calls the woman the day after her procedure to answer her questions and schedule follow-up diagnostic testing. We follow the American Cancer Society screening guidelines, which recommend a baseline mammogram between 35 and 40 years of age and an annual mammogram after 40. If a woman has a history of breast cancer in her family, we strongly recommend she discuss the timing of her mammogram with her physician.
The Monday Night Mammos program is offered on the last Monday of every month (except for Memorial Day), as well as the first four Mondays in October in recognition of breast cancer awareness month. A similar program is offered at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. An appointment is required (visit www.MethodistHealthSystem.org/MondayMammos for information), and Methodist Health System bills your health insurance company directly for the charges.
The program is ideal for women ages 40 and older who are due a regular screening mammogram. In fact, we encourage our employees to take advantage of the opportunity to be pampered, because like most women, we as caregivers are so busy caring for others, that we forget to take care of ourselves.
Methodist Charlton and Methodist Richardson Medical Centers also offer imaging centers. What’s more, Methodist’s Women’s Imaging Centers are among only about 30 percent of breast imaging centers in the United States to offer a softer digital mammogram, which makes the exam more comfortable.
Today, we are seeing younger women diagnosed with breast disease, so we are committed to educating women about the importance of beginning breast self-exam when they are in their 20s. In addition, women should have an annual breast exam by a qualified medical professional. Our commitment to educating women about prevention and early detection of breast disease extends beyond the Methodist campuses. Through our mobile units and community partnerships with organizations such as the Bridge Breast Network, YMCA, University of North Texas, and Dallas Cancer Disparities Community Coalition, as well as funding from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, we are able to sponsor a breast screening program for uninsured and underserved women.
If you’re ready to join an innovative team of caregivers, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.
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