About 60 people milled in the lobby of Providence Seaside Hospital with T-shirts and tote bags all emboldened with three, bright pink words.
What is tomo?
The answer to that question was presented by the Seaside Providence Hospital Foundation in an April 5 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the arrival of a new, state-of-the-art 3D mammography machine. It detects breast cancer with a clearer, more accurate scan in comparison to older 2D technology.
The ribbon cutting celebrated a yearlong fundraising effort to afford the $374,000 machine, mostly procured by fundraising events, like the Festival of Trees gala, as well as employee contributions and other individual donors, foundation board director Kimberly Ward said.
Before now, people would be required to go to Portland for services of this caliber. This is the first and only tomosynthesis on the North Coast, CEO Kendall Sawa said.
According to Sawa, tomo has a 41 percent increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers, as well as a 15 percent less chance of having to have a repeat follow up mammogram done, which saves money, time and a patient’s heartache.
“To be able to provide this quality of care to the community is amazing,” Sawa said.
Each year the foundation chooses projects based on community need, Ward said. Part of the reason why this machine was chosen was because of the cancer’s prevalence in the community.
“It’s very rare that someone you know hasn’t had their life touched by cancer in some way,” Ward said.
Laura Freedman, a fellow foundation board member, said the community that came together to fundraise is about as amazing as the machine itself.
“It was such an eye-opening experience to see how such a small community can accomplish such a large thing,” Freedman said. “People are very generous here.”
For the professionals on the ground, that generosity will serve to make their job that much easier and rewarding.
Diagnostics and imaging department manager Tim Hardin had the honor of cutting the pink satin ribbon, cramped by the large crowd of excited spectators all making it work in a small observing room.
For him, it comes down to the patients.
“This machine has the potential to pick up cancers so much earlier,” Hardin said. “We’re all here for the patients. Our goal is always to be able to provide optimum care.”