Generous Gifts Bring Digital Mammography to St. Luke’s
By Kermit Cantwell
California Pacific’s St. Luke’s Campus is pleased to announce the acquisition of a new digital mammography system for its Breast Health Center. Known for delivering high-quality X-ray images, this state-of-the-art equipment can help catch tumors while they are still in their early stages. That’s important because the sooner cancer is found, the better the survival rate.
“The digital images are easy to manipulate,” says Mary Catanzaro, lead technologist in St. Luke’s Mammography Department. “By quickly adjusting settings like brightness and contrast, we’re able create more detailed images that might reveal small lumps in the breast.”
Another positive is that exam times will be reduced up to 40 percent. “The images are captured instantly and there is no film to be developed,” says Margo Cusack, Director of Imaging Services at CPMC. “That means patients spend less time waiting, and—because exams are faster—we can provide services to more women.” Cusack also points out that digital images are easy to store, find and share with other medical providers.
Donors Accept a Big Challenge
This new equipment was one of CPMC’s 2011 Annual Priorities, a list of crucial, physician-identified needs not typically covered by the medical center’s regular budget. But thanks to the kindness of two generous donors, funding for this priority happened very quickly.
It started when longtime breast health proponent Mrs. Athena Blackburn heard about the need and made a very generous lead gift, which sparked a subsequent “matching” grant challenge from CPMC’s parent organization, Sutter Health. Around that same time, Mrs. Ruth Nolte, an ardent champion of women and children’s services, approached CPMC Foundation to ask where she could have the biggest impact with a donation she wanted to make. When she heard about the challenge, Mrs. Nolte directed her gift to St. Luke’s and funding was complete—all in about two months.
Finding it hard to suppress a big smile, CPMC Foundation President Mark Kimbell says, “This may be the fastest we’ve ever funded an Annual Priority. We would feel blessed to receive just one of these gifts, but to have both of these amazing donors step forward at the same time is truly remarkable.”
Targeted Support Delivers Results
A breast cancer survivor herself, Mrs. Blackburn has funded numerous breast health initiatives, including a radiotherapy suite named in her honor and acquisition of an MRI breast biopsy table. She was also the impetus behind the Sister-to-Sister Breast Health Program, which provides no-cost mammograms, biopsies and cancer treatment to uninsured San Francisco residents. When she learned many of the people treated at St. Luke’s are from underserved populations, she wanted to help.
“I donate to other causes, but nothing can compare to the gratification I get from my experience with CPMC,” she says. “My giving has helped me regain my joie de vivre. It’s very satisfying.”
For her part, Mrs. Nolte has worked for many years as a volunteer at our California campus and provided funding for the Ruth Nolte OB Reception Center. Offering a complete range of obstetric services for expectant mothers, the Center is a key resource for local families, considering that more than 6,500 babies were born at CPMC in 2010.
Mrs. Nolte thinks people should focus their giving on a few key areas because “you see results more quickly.” She also feels strongly about contributing to those who need help the most. She explains, “There was a need at St. Luke’s, so I did what I could to help meet that need.”
Because of the generosity of our donors, St. Luke’s has yet another important tool to help it continue offering highquality breast health care to women in the surrounding neighborhoods.
To support breast health programs at CPMC, please call 415-600-4400 or visit the CPMC Foundation website.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among California women. Hope for survival is excellent when breast cancer is diagnosed early.
CPMC’s breast health centers help provide access to screening and follow-up services to all women, including those who are uninsured or at-risk. Patients can make appointments at one of our two Breast Health Centers. Both centers cover a full range of breast diagnostic and support services including digital screening and diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound, image guided biopsy procedures, breast health education and the Breast Cancer Recovery Program. Please visit the Breast Health Services page for more information or call one of our Breast Health Centers to schedule your mammogram.
- California Campus
Breast Health Center
3698 California St.
- St. Luke’s Campus
Breast Health Center
3555 Cesar Chavez