On the first day of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2010, USDA Rural Development and Calais Regional Hospital came together with the mission of saving lives. The hospital’s outdated mammography machine was being replaced with a state-of- the-art digital mammography machine, funded in part by a $200,000 USDA Rural Development Community Facilities grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
At the Saving Lives Ceremony held at the rural Maine Hospital, Mona Van Wart, a breast cancer survivor, urged others to get a mammogram, explaining that “Mammograms can save lives. I know because a mammogram saved mine.” It was a moving ceremony, including a presentation of framed art to brighten the walls of the mammography room by USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel.
Before the funding of the new digital mammography machine, patients in the area had to travel 90 miles to a larger hospital to get the screening they needed. The new machine means that patients in the hospital’s large service area can have access to the quality healthcare they need at a rural hospital located in their own community.
Recognition of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in 1985. Since then, mammography rates have more than doubled for women over 50 and death rates have declined.
State Director Manuel said, “The new digital mammography machine is a prime example of putting USDA Rural Development Recovery Act money to good use. When we hear about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act we often hear about how it is creating and saving jobs- but the funds represented here today are saving lives. Congratulations to Calais Regional hospital on implementing this life-saving equipment so that patients can get the care they need right here in their own community.”
To learn more about breast cancer awareness month, detection and prevention, click here.