BUTTE — An easier way for women to get checked for breast cancer will hopefully be coming to Southwest Montana soon.
St. James Healthcare wants to bring a mobile mammography unit to help women keep up to date with their mammogram screenings.
"Something we have identified at St. James Healthcare is access to care. We service a seven-county region. . . so we want to make sure that we’re providing access to all women of our area so we make sure that all women that need to be screened are getting screened," said St. James Foundation Director of Development Kacie Bartholomew.
Statistics show that 1-in-8 women will face breast cancer in their lifetime. According to St. James Healthcare, 48% of women ages 50-to-74 in the hospital's service area have not had a mammogram within the past two years.
It is estimated 950 women in Montana will be diagnosed with breast cancer, with an estimated 140 breast cancer deaths in 2021.
"As we interviewed one patient when we did the boulder mammography screening this summer, she actually had said my kids won’t let me drive anymore and she lived in Boulder and so how was she ever going to get her screening if we don’t come to her?" asked Bartholomew.
St. James will be holding a virtual brunch over zoom including a live presentation and silent auction To raise money for the mobile mammography unit. Donations are being accepted, and those who give $500 or more will receive a champagne brunch delivered to their door.
Additionally, Closet Collections and Denny Menholt Ford will be donating a portion of their proceeds from the month of October to raise money for the mobile unit during the month of October.
"Early detection is key. A lot of times we see women come in just too late and there’s nothing we can do at that point for them. We know that Stage 1 and Stage 2 are very curable so if women can come in when they hit 40 and then after we know that we have a better chance of nipping it in the bud so to speak," said Bartholomew.
St. James healthcare hopes having the mobile mammography unit will encourage women across Southwest Montana to get tested for breast cancer. To register for the event, click here.