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NMMC-West Point to dedicate Kitty Bryan Dill Breast Care Suite

North Mississippi Medical Center-West Point will dedicate the Kitty Bryan Dill Breast Care Suite at 2:30 p.m. Monday, May 6.

The suite features new Hologic 3D Mammography™ technology that produces exceptionally sharp images to help find breast cancers earlier, see lesions more clearly and reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies.

“This is the most incredible and exciting news for West Point, the Golden Triangle and North Mississippi!” says Mary Margaret Case of Oxford, daughter of Kitty Bryan Dill. “My mother was 42 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she died on October 11, 1990, at the young age of 48.  Early detection might have played a vital role in her living a longer life.” She was 21 years old when her mother died—her brother Ken was 19, and sisters Sarah Catherine and Caroline were 16 and 14, respectively. Their father, Kenny Dill, was serving as mayor of West Point at the time.

This new technology is proven to detect an average of 41% more invasive breast cancers compared to two-dimensional images alone. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved it as superior for women with dense breasts compared to 2D alone. The technology also allows physicians to recall prior breast imaging studies so that they can be compared to the new images side-by-side, making it easier to look for changes from study to study.

“I welcome the opportunity for the women of our community to have convenient access to the most up-to-date technology offered for breast imaging,” said Phyllis Mason, M.D., medical director of NMMC-West Point Radiology Department. “The exam is not significantly more involved than the previous mammogram exams, only about three seconds longer, and no additional compression is required to obtain the more detailed three-dimensional breast images.”

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. Currently, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 12%, which means there is a one in eight chance she will develop breast cancer. “Improved screening tests and treatment techniques are saving lives, and the women in West Point and surrounding areas are going to benefit greatly from this amazing new machine,” Case said.

The new equipment’s rapid scan time makes the process comfortable for the patient while also limiting radiation exposure. The suite also includes ultrasound equipment so that it is more convenient for patients who require additional testing.

The new Breast Care Suite is being funded in part through donations to the Health Care Foundation’s Kitty Bryan Dill Fund and NMMC-West Point employee donors.

Dill’s younger brother, George Bryan, said his sister remained active in her community throughout her valiant battle against breast cancer. “She fought it really hard,” Bryan said. “She was a very special person—she got a lot of her traits from our mother. She was an inspiration to all of us.”

 The Kitty Bryan Dill Fund was established by her family several years ago as part of the Take a Swing at Cancer golf tournament. Both Case and Bryan have served on the Health Care Foundation board for many years and are heavily involved with planning the golf tournament, proceeds of which benefit the foundation’s Cancer Care Fund. “Even when Marcia and I were living in Memphis, we came several times for the Take a Swing at Cancer tournament,” Bryan said. “Nobody had any idea it would grow to the size it is now. It’s an event we look forward to every year.”

“One year we added a Corks and Canvas event on the Sunday of the tournament for golfers or their spouses. It quickly became very popular,” Case said. “We did an event on Sunday for several years, and all the proceeds went into the Kitty Bryan Dill Fund. Our donation for the Breast Care Suite is a result of all those fundraisers. This is a great memory of her for our family.”

“I would like to thank the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi and the board of directors of NMMC-West Point for helping us acquire this equipment,” said Helen Copeland, director of Radiology. “This technology allows the breast tissue to be seen in more detail and has been shown to detect irregularities that were obscured in the previous two-dimensional mammograms.”

Dill’s family knows she would be grateful for the Breast Care Suite named in her honor. “My mother was a very curious educator who loved science and science experiments. When she was diagnosed with cancer and during the five years that she lived with cancer, she was passionate about searching for the newest and best treatments to prolong her life,” Case said. “She wanted to live!  How thrilled she would be to know that her beloved hometown of West Point is home to this most incredible machine that could save so many lives.” 

The dedication ceremony will take place in the hospital’s Education Center, located at 150 Medical Center Drive, with staff offering tours of the new facility. To schedule a mammogram, call (662) 377-6655 or 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375).

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