By: Lani Hansen, Senior Reporter
OKEMAH, Oklahoma– The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health installed a new 3D mammography services at the Okemah Creek Nation Community Hospital.
“This new machine will provide screening mammograms for patients that live in this area (Okemah) of our jurisdiction,” Secretary of Health Shawn Terry said. “In the past they had to drive all the way to Okmulgee or Koweta for a mammogram.”
According to the MCNDH press release, services are available to both tribal citizens and non-Native patients and launched in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To present the new machine a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place in front of the hospital. MCN Principal Chief David Hill, MCN National Council Speaker Randall Hicks, Abbi Lee, CEO, Susan G. Komen Oklahoma and Terri were in attendance.
“The MCN remains committed to improving rural healthcare in the communities we serve,” Terry said. “Early detection drastically improves breast cancer survival rates and we are proud to bring these critical mammography services to residents in Okemah and surrounding areas.”
There are now three mammography services in the jurisdiction; one is at Koweta health facilities, the second is at the Okmulgee Medical Center and now in Okemah hospital.
According to the National Cancer Institute, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. The 3D Genius Mammography technology provides greater accuracy, earlier breast cancer detection and improves the ability to find more invasive cancers.
As of October 8, Terry said they have ran about twelve patients through the new 3D mammography services.
“We hope to start ramping up, because you start slow when turning on these new services but we hope it’s running all the time,” Terry said.
Native women have the highest incident in breast cancer, and Terry feels his first priority is to protect the citizens by adding a 3D mammography service.
Executive Director Susan G. Kormen Oklahoma Abbi Lee added, “We know one of the most important factors in a breast cancer diagnosis is catching it early. That is why having a mammography machine within a short driving distance is such a gift for the area – not just the tribal members, but the entire community. The fact that it is 3D makes it even more so. 3D mammography machines make it so that fewer breast cancer diagnosis are missed.”