Foundation raising money for breast biopsy machine | PostIndependent.com
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Foundation raising money for breast biopsy machine

Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and more than 40,000 will die.According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women has or will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. But there is also good news in this scenario.”If detected early, the five-year survival rate exceeds 95 percent,” the foundation says on its Web site.For women in the Roaring Fork and Colorado river valleys, area hospitals offer mammography that can provide early detection of breast abnormalities.Currently, if a mammogram shows an area of concern in a woman’s breast, the only option at Valley View Hospital for identifying whether an abnormality is cancerous is a breast biopsy, a surgical procedure.Women can also elect to travel to Denver for a stereotactic core biopsy, a less invasive, and less expensive, technique.About 30 women per month require breast biopsies in the valley, some of whom make the trip to the Sally Job Breast Center in Denver for the stereotactic procedure.This year, the Valley View Foundation has set a goal to raise $200,000 toward purchase of stereotactic equipment.”What the foundation is trying to do is bring services to the hospital so that people don’t have to go out of town,” said foundation president Mary Steinbrecher.Stereotactic biopsy is an X-ray-guided digital imaging of the breast and a computer-guided needle that takes a pinpoint sampling of tissue.In January, Valley View opened its expanded cancer center, which it operates with specialist physicians from the University of Colorado Cancer Center in Denver.Valley View offers chemotherapy and surgery but does not yet offer radiation therapy for cancer patients, Steinbrecher said. Patients needing radiation must travel to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction or to a hospital in Denver.”Our second step is to add (new) diagnostic equipment,” Steinbrecher said. “The third big step will be radiation” which will require an outlay of millions of dollars.The hospital foundation is now actively soliciting donations for the stereotactic biopsy equipment.According to radiologist Dr. Liz Kulwiec, the technique involves a special mammography machine that takes two images of the compressed breast. A computer then compares the two images and guides the biopsy needle to the area of concern. The needle than removes a sample of tissue which is sent to a pathologist who determines whether it is malignant.Dr. Mary Glode, an obstetrician and gynecologist with Women’s Health Associates in Glenwood Springs, said the majority of abnormalities a mammogram picks up are noncancerous. So it makes sense to have the minimal biopsy. “It gives the woman rapid assurance of a benign finding without having an invasive procedure.”Women who elect to have a stereotactic biopsy must travel three and a half hours to Denver and will wait up to several weeks until an appointment can be made, Glode said.”They have to travel away from their comfort zone and then have to go back to Denver for the results. It would be really fabulous to have (the equipment) right here in town,” Glode said. “More women would use it if we had it here.”Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com


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