Although October is a month of awareness, breast health is important to consider all year long

Arroyo Grande Community Hospital (AGCH),  French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC), and Marian Regional Medical Center (MRMC), which are Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals, recognize the significance of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of death for women in the United States.  While most people are aware of breast cancer, Dignity Health Central Coast wants to emphasize the importance of women to take the necessary steps to detect this disease in its early stages, and inspire others to do the same.

October serves as a gentle reminder of an annual mammogram, but breast health is of great importance to us all year long.  Early breast cancer usually does not have any symptoms.  It is important for women to understand the role of breast self-exams in helping each woman become more familiar with her breasts, which may help identify abnormalities or changes. It is also essential that women receive their regularly scheduled screening mammograms beginning at age 40 and continuing annually. If there is a family history of breast cancer, consulting a physician regarding the appropriate age to begin screenings could be life-saving. Dignity Health has partnered with many local organizations to offer free screening mammograms year round to those who may otherwise not afford them.

Dignity Health Central Coast is at the forefront of breast cancer screening and has acquired the latest in breast imaging technology, GE’s SenoClaire Breast Tomosynthesis. This three-dimensional imaging detector delivers high-quality digital imagery at a low dose, delivering greater accuracy in determining the size, shape, and location of any breast abnormalities. This innovative breast imaging equipment captures multiple images of the entire breast, which allows our specialized radiologists to see through layers of breast tissue and examine the breast from all viewpoints.  Dignity Health Central Coast has received four of these devices, supported in large part by our hospital philanthropic entities.  The units are located at Arroyo Grande Community Hospital, French Hospital Medical Center, Marian Regional Medical Center, and San Luis Diagnostic Center.

Additionally, Dignity Health Central Coast offers the area’s only Nurse Navigator program. When a patient receives a breast cancer diagnosis, it is vital to quickly coordinate all aspects of care.  Our highly-skilled navigators guide patients and their families through a cancer journey, serving as an important source of information and support. Our qualified Nurse navigators are available at no cost to our patients and can:

  • Help patients understand a cancer diagnosis and treatment options
  • Coordinate communication between patients and their health care team
  • Inform patients and their families about financial counseling, clinical trials, genetic counseling and other services
  • Help patients and their families connect with our many programs as well as community services

Mammograms catch up to 90 percent of breast cancers, even before symptoms appear, and breast cancers caught in their earliest stages have a 98 percent survival rate. Our Dignity Health Central Coast facilities offer renowned specialists in mammography, radiology, and breast cancer treatment to care for you this month, and every month.

A busy life should not get in the way of early detection.  To schedule a mammogram today, please call:

AGCH Coastal Diagnostic Center- 805.481.4705

FHMC Women’s Health and Imaging Center- 805.597.6700

San Luis Diagnostic Center- 805.542.9700

MRMC Breast Imaging Center- 805.346.3490

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Dignity Health Central Coast

Dignity Health Central Coast is comprised of five hospitals, all recognized for their quality of care, safety and service, primary care offices, premier ambulatory surgery centers, technologically advanced imaging centers, outpatient services and comprehensive home health services. Hospitals in the Dignity Health Central Coast region include Arroyo Grande Community Hospital in Arroyo Grande, French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo and St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard. Each hospital is supported by an active philanthropic Foundation to provide additional funding to support new programs and services, as well as to advance the community’s access to health care.  For more information, visit: www.dignityhealth.org/centralcoast.