BY MARY WICOFF
Sometimes, it’s nice for a busy woman to take time for herself — and her health.
Realizing that women often neglect their own health care while tending to their jobs and families, the Women’s Center at Provena United Samaritans Medical Center is offering an incentive.
A “Girls Night Out Mammogram Party” will be from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the medical center. The Women’s Center will be transformed into a place of pampering with refreshments, massages and manicures, as well as mammograms and clinical breast exams.
Twenty spaces are available, so women are advised to call early.
Kathy Leach, RN, nurse navigator for the Women’s Health Center, said the parties have been successful in the past. The first one was offered last October, and there have been two others this year.
“A lot of women really enjoyed themselves and thanked us for a fun evening,” she said. “It’s something to make women feel special.”
The party is especially helpful in attracting women who are nervous about getting a mammogram or behind schedule. Sometimes those women need a little extra incentive to get the life-saving procedure.
Leach had heard about the party elsewhere, and it was her idea to offer it locally.
The mammogram itself takes about 10 minutes; after that, a woman is free to leave or is invited to mingle with other women. There will be wine and non-alcoholic drinks, hors d’oeuvres, a chair massage and manicures.
“We know women are busy,” Leach said. “Between juggling jobs, kids, and so many other things, women tend to put themselves last on the list.
“This is a chance for those who have been putting it off to come in, maybe bring a girlfriend, take care of their health and relax for a while.”
Dr. James Savage, chief surgeon and physician advisor for the Breast Health program at Provena, will be available for clinical breast exams for those who are interested.
Participation is limited to women who have not had a screening mammogram in the past year.
Nearly all forms of insurances from every major carrier, including Health Alliance and BlueCross BlueShield, are accepted. Insurance usually covers women age 35 and older. Younger women who are interested are advised to check their insurance provisions first.
Women without insurance will be referred to another site for a mammogram.
Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths among U.S. women. Yet, in spite of this fact, fewer women are getting mammograms, Leach said.
According to a study by the National Cancer Institute, the percentage of U.S. women having mammograms after age 40 had grown steadily for more than a decade before leveling off to 70 percent in 2000. By 2005, the rate had dropped to 66 percent.
This decline in annual screenings is a major source of concern, she said.
Regular mammograms remain the best tool for catching breast cancer in its earlier and more treatable stages. In fact, screening mammograms decrease breast cancer mortality by at least 25 percent.
Leach said of Wednesday’s event, “It will be a fun, relaxing evening and I encourage women to get yearly mammograms.”
If you want to go
To register for the Provena United Samaritans Girls’ Night Out Mammogram Party, call 304-7516. Spaces are limited, so call soon.
For more information on digital mammography and other services at the Women’s Health Center at Provena in Danville, visit www.provena.org/usmc/women.