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Aurora Lakeland Medical Center highlights importance of annual mammograms

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Elkhorn, Wis.—October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and according to the National Cancer Institute, 192,370 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. One in eight women will be diagnosed in her lifetime.

The encouraging news is that breast cancer death rates continue to decline, most likely the result of breast self exams and annual mammograms, two important ways women can be proactive about their breast health. According to government estimates, almost 78 percent of Wisconsin women aged 40 and better had a mammogram in the past two years. While that surpasses the national objective of 70 percent, it still shows that there is room for improvement.

Early detection of breast cancer can increase a woman’s chance of survival. At Aurora Lakeland Medical Center, Linda Krauklis and Cynthia Williams, both registered nurses who serve as the hospital’s breast care coordinators, said breast self-exams are recommended every month starting at age 20. Clinical breast exams are suggested every 3 years for women age 20-39 and annually after age 40. A screening mammogram every year starting at age 40 is also encouraged.

Mammograms remain the best early detection method available and with the advent of digital mammography, cancers are being detected earlier in women under age 50. Aurora Lakeland Medical Center offers digital mammography.

In their roles, Williams and Krauklis serve as a resource for information about breast health, breast cancer, and treatment options. They partner with patients who have abnormal mammograms, and serve as the liaison between the doctor’s office and the patient to ensure that there are no gaps in the process.

As breast care coordinators, Krauklis and Williams are part of a team of committed and knowledgeable health care professionals that includes mammography and ultrasound technicians, nursing staff, radiologists, surgeons, and pathologists.

“This is about information and education,’’ said Williams. “We know more about breast cancer than in the past. We know more about prevention and what works. Having an annual mammogram, knowing what your family history is, and completing self-breast exams every month are all excellent ways of maintaining optimal breast health.’’

They also help facilitate Aurora Lakeland Medical Center's support group for breast cancer survivors, held the first Tuesday of each month from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m., Same Day Surgery Waiting Area, second floor. Aurora Lakeland Medical Center is located at W3985 County Road NN, Elkhorn.

“As patient advocates, we support and assist the patient through the entire process, ensuring a smooth flow through the continuum of a women's breast health needs,’’ said Krauklis. “We also facilitate communication with the patient and other members of the health care team.’’

To learn more about breast health, please contact Linda Krauklis or Cindy Williams at 262-741-2432 or check out www.AuroraHealthCare.org.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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Contact: Andy Johnson
Phone: 262-767-6267

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