October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Susan Bacon is reminding women to take advantage of the services offered by the Breast Center at Hill Country Memorial.

According to Bacon, Breast Center Manager, they have been operating “full steam” since May.

“Our patient load did slow down in March and April, but we have instituted enhanced sanitation procedures and are welcoming everyone back,” Bacon said. “We want to remind women that early detection is always important. If you catch issues early, there are less invasive procedures you have to go through to take care of it.”

In addition to conventional breast imaging scanners, the Center uses Tomosynthesis, a 3-D system that allows radiologists to view “slices” of the breast tissue, resulting in more detailed and accurate readings. The Center also offers conventional 2-D mammography for patients who choose it.

One goal of the Breast Center is to make the entire mammogram process less stressful for the patient.

“We try to make the process more comfortable,” Bacon said. “Patients brag on it.”

Among the accommodations to comfort is the use of mammography pads that cushion the imaging plate, respecting patient privacy, and respecting patient time. The team strives to make the experience “spa-like.”

“We are very quick and efficient getting individuals through the process,” Bacon said. “Once we get them registered and into the exam room, a typical mammogram takes ten minutes or less. Then they are on their way.”

As an added incentive and special “thank you,” every woman receives a “pink card” at the completion of their exam. This is a card with gifts, discounts, and special items provided by area businesses.

“When I hand them the pink card, I talk about how the community supports the hospital and the Breast Center,” Bacon said. “They are offering this to encourage women to take care of ourselves. The ladies love it!”

While always aware of cleanliness, the team is following best practices to mitigate exposure to COVID-19, including extra sanitizing between patients, minimizing touchpoints, and keeping patients separated while going through the process.

Bacon encourages women to consult their primary care doctor for recommendations on frequency of getting a breast screening. National health organizations issue different guidelines, but Bacon recommends annual exams past the age of 40, with adjustments for personal health and family history.

For screening, women can also self-refer, by calling 830-990-6181 or booking online www.hillcountrymemorial.org/our services/breast center.