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Gunnison Valley Health and Tough Enough to Wear Pink

Thanks to the generous support of Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough To Wear Pink, Gunnison Valley Health now features Hologic GeniusTM 3D Tomosynthesis Mammography exams.

For years, Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink has partnered with Gunnison Valley Health to provide the best breast cancer care available anywhere in the rural United States. In just the past year, the two have worked together to redefine small-town breast care.

According to a 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment, cancer care is one of the highest priority needs identified by our community. GVH’s own Dr. Stephania Timothy, recognizing the higher incidence of dense breast tissue in our community, played a critical role in getting the state legislature to pass a bill mandating the reporting of breast density in mammography reports to patients and physicians.

Dense breast tissue can result in a greater amount of white showing up on a mammogram. The challenge is that cancer also appears white in mammograms, making it easier for tumors to be hidden or masked in traditional 2D mammography, especially for women with dense breast tissue. Thankfully, 3D Tomosynthesis technology makes it easier to identify cancer in dense breast tissue. Unfortunately, it’s a very specialized piece of equipment many small rural hospitals cannot maintain.

That’s where Tough Enough to Wear Pink comes in. This summer, TETWP generously provided nearly $400,000 to Gunnison Valley Health to purchase a Hologic GeniusTM 3D Tomosynthesis Mammography machine. Hologic is widely recognized as a leader in the breast imaging field and such technology allows GVH to identify breast cancer better than ever before.

In addition, GVH has partnered with Radiology Imaging Associates (RIA), a team of 90 radiology specialists behind Envision Sally Jobe, to provide reads here in the Gunnison Valley. No other rural hospital in the state has access to a team of radiology specialists like RIA.

World-class technology coupled with access to world-class radiologists means the women in our community can stay in our community to receive care that rivals anywhere in the state.

You might think GVH and TETWP would leave it at that. But redefining rural healthcare means never resting. This past winter GVH also hired Betsy Welsh, an oncology nurse navigator, with funding help from TETWP. Betsy walks alongside those in our community fighting cancer and assists with a variety of aspects of a patient’s treatment, from explaining medications to assisting with nutrition to coordinating services that best meet the needs of the patient.

Tough Enough to Wear Pink provides vital support to the work Gunnison Valley Health does. Together, we are not only changing the face of healthcare in our community, we are redefining what rural breast care looks like.