October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, aside from skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), an estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed among women in the United States this year. Today, there are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States.

Graham Regional Medical Center is committed to the health of citizens in our area. To that end, Graham Regional Medical Center is helping to defray the cost of your mammogram by offering a discounted price of this lifesaving screening for the month of October.

Please call the Radiology Department @ (940) 521-5430 to schedule your appointment.

If you’re worried about developing breast cancer, or if you know someone who has been diagnosed with the disease, one way to deal with your concerns is to get as much information as possible.

The following Q&A will answer many of your questions.

Q: What is breast cancer?
A: Breast cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). It occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare.

  • Screening
    Q: Is mammography reliable as a screening tool for breast cancer?
    A: Mammography screening remains the best available method to detect breast cancer early. In 1992, the U.S. Congress passed the Mammography Quality Standards Act to ensure that mammography facilities throughout the country are of high quality and reliable. To lawfully perform mammography, each facility must prominently display a certificate issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This certificate serves as evidence that the facility meets quality standards.

    Q: Is mammography screening the only way to detect breast cancer?
    A: Other screening tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are available, but mammography screening remains the best available method to detect breast cancer early. However, no medical test is always 100 percent accurate, and mammography is no exception. Research is under way to improve the technology to lead to better accuracy and to create new technologies.
    Q: What should women expect when they have a mammogram?
    A: A woman who still menstruates should schedule the mammogram for one week after her menstrual period begins, when the breasts will be the least tender. Women are asked to avoid using deodorant and lotions on the day of the mammogram and should wear two-piece clothing to make undressing more convenient. A specially trained radiologic technologist will perform the mammogram. The woman will be asked to undress from the waist up only and stand next to the x-ray machine. Two flat surfaces will compress one breast first, then the other for a few seconds. Compression is necessary to produce the best pictures using the lowest amount of radiation possible.

    Q: What barriers keep women from getting mammograms on a routine basis?
    A: Studies have identified a number of barriers to mammography screening. Some can be overcome with health education; others require programs to make mammography more accessible for women. The top barriers, in women’s words, are:

  • “I don’t need a mammogram because my doctor has never recommended I have one.”
  • “I’ve never thought about it.”
  • “I have no breast problems, so mammography isn’t necessary.”
  • “I don’t have enough time.”
  • “I have had a mastectomy (double mastectomy, radical mastectomy) and don’t have breasts.”
  • “I don’t have a family history of breast cancer.”

Other barriers include:

  • Fear about pain from the procedure.
  • Fear of a diagnosis of breast cancer.
  • Concerns about screening costs.
  • Concerns about the financial burden of diagnostic procedures and treatment, if needed.
  • No recent clinical breast examination or Pap test.
  • No routine source of health care.
  • Difficulty taking time off from work to be screened.
  • Living a far distance from the screening site.
  • Source: The Manual of Intervention Strategies to Increase Mammography Rates, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with the Prudential Center for Health Care Research.

Q: Will health insurance pay for screening mammograms?
A: Regular screening mammograms are covered by the U.S. government’s Medicare and Medicaid programs and other private health insurance plans (women should check their own insurance plans for individual details). Free or low-cost mammograms are available for women without health insurance in many locations. For a program near you, contact the CDC at (888) 842-6355.

Q: Will Medicare pay for screening mammograms?
A: Yes. Medicare covers mammography screening every year for women age 40 and older who are Medicare recipients.

Q: How common is breast cancer in the United States?
A: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, aside from skin cancer.

 Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

Q: What are the breast cancer “risk factors”?
A: To predict when and in whom breast cancer will occur, scientists must often think like detectives, looking for clues to signal which women may be more likely than others to develop the disease. These clues are called “risk factors.”

To identify risk factors, scientists continually examine various trends and patterns among women worldwide who are diagnosed with the disease. Age, individual and family medical history, reproductive history, genetic alterations, race, economic status, environmental exposures to pollutants, and lifestyle habits are all examples of the factors that can be evaluated. This information tells a scientific story that helps experts predict with some certainty a woman’s odds for developing breast cancer. It’s important to note, however, that this is not an exact science and that such predictions are not definite.

Having one or two of these risk factors doesn’t mean a woman will develop breast cancer. But knowing her personal risk factor profile and understanding what it means will help her and her doctor plan a course of action that may reduce her chances of developing the disease or, at least, to detect it in its earliest, most treatable stages.

The most common risk factors:

  • Sex. The highest risk factor for breast cancer is being female; the disease is about 100 times more common among women.
  • Age. The risk of breast cancer increases as a woman grows older. The risk is especially high for women age 60 and older. Breast cancer is uncommon in women younger than age 35, although it does occur. There is some evidence to suggest young African American women are at greater risk for breast cancer than young Caucasian women.
  • Personal History. Women who have had breast cancer and women with a history of breast disease (not cancer, but a condition that may predispose them to cancer) may develop it again.
  • Family History. The risk of developing breast cancer increases for a woman whose mother, sister, daughter, or two or more close relatives have had the disease. It is important to know how old they were at the time they were diagnosed.
  • The Breast Cancer Genes. Some individuals, both women and men, may be born with an “alteration” (or change) in one of two genes that are important for regulating breast cell growth. Individuals who inherit an alteration in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene are at an “inherited” higher risk for breast cancer. They also may pass this alteration on to their children. It is very rare. Scientists estimate that only about 5-10 percent of all breast cancers are due to genetic changes. One out of two women with these changes are likely to develop breast cancer. Women with a family history of breast cancer are encouraged to speak to a genetics counselor to determine the pros and cons of genetic testing.
  • Having an early menarche (first period or menstrual bleeding). Women who begin menstruating before age 12 are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. The more menstrual cycles a woman has over her lifetime, the more likely she is to get the disease.
  • Having a first pregnancy after age 25 or 35. Although early pregnancies may help lower the chances of getting breast cancer, particularly before the age of 25, these same hormonal changes after age 35 may contribute to the incidence of breast cancer.
  • Having no children. Women who experience continuous menstrual cycles until menopause are at a higher than average risk.
  • Use of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Based on the Women’s Health Initiative Study (2002), women do appear to have an increased risk of breast cancer while they are on HRT and a short time thereafter, compared to those who have never used postmenopausal HRT. This is based on a study of 16,000 healthy postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 who were taking either estrogen plus progestin as HRT or a placebo (an inactive pill).
  • Use of Oral Contraceptives (OCs) and Breast Cancer. Current or former use of OCs among women ages 35 to 64 did not significantly increase the risk of breast cancer. The findings were similar for Caucasian and African-American women. Data also show that former OC use does not increase the risk of breast cancer later in life.

Other risk factors – and lifestyle choices to avoid them
Common to all women are daily lifestyle decisions that may affect breast cancer risk. These day-to-day choices involve factors such as poor diet, insufficient physical activity, alcohol use, and smoking. Besides possibly reducing breast cancer risk, lifestyle improvements represent smart steps for a healthier life, since they can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and many other chronic, life-threatening conditions.

  • Decrease your daily fat intake – especially saturated or hydrogenated fats. Eat leaner meats and limit red meat. Reducing your fat intake helps prevent other health problems such as heart disease and stroke and may reduce your chance of developing breast and colon cancers.
  • Increase fiber in your diet. Fiber is found in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. This type of diet is beneficial for your heart and can help prevent other cancers such as colon cancer.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition to their fiber content, fruits and vegetables have antioxidant properties and micronutrients that may help prevent some cancers.
  • Limit alcohol. Evidence suggests that a small increase in risk exists for women who average two or more drinks per day (beer, wine, and distilled liquor).
  • Stay active. The U.S. Surgeon General has recently reported that you can help prevent many health problems by engaging in a moderate amount of physical activity (such as taking a brisk, 30-minute walk) on most days of the week. Strive to maintain the body weight recommended by a health professional, since excess fat may stimulate estrogen production.
  • Don’t smoke. Although smoking doesn’t cause breast cancer, it can increase the chance of blood clots, heart disease, and other cancers that may spread to the breast
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General Surgery

General surgery, despite its name, is a surgical specialty that focuses on abdominal organs, e.g., intestines including esophagus, stomach, small bowel, colon, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts, and often the thyroid gland (depending on the availability of head and neck surgery specialists). They also deal with diseases involving the skin, breast, soft tissue, and hernias. These surgeons deal mainly in the Torso.

Contact Info:
Office:  940-549-3564

Graham Regional Medical Center
801 Montgomery Road, Suite 206
Graham, Texas 76450

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Fitness Center

The Fitness Center is a hospital-based wellness and fitness facility committed to ensuring good health for the community.

The new and exciting Graham Regional Medical Center Fitness Center is one of the area’s premier workout facilities. Director, Alicia Griffin, heads a staff of twelve dedicated fitness experts who are certified instructors in their field, and are also trained in CPR and First Aid.

Our cardio equipment includes:

  • LifeFitness treadmills
  • ElipticalsSteppers
  • Rowing Machines
  • Stairclimbers
  • Recumbent and Upright bikes

Some of the new machine driven equipment includes:

  • Nautilus selectorized machine weights

Our freeweight customers will enjoy:

  • Benchpresses
  • Dumbbells
  • Kettlebells
  • Weight Lifting Platforms

 Need a personal trainer to help you get on the right track? Our Certified Personal Trainers are happy to work with you on your personal fitness goals – standard and custom packages available.

Our Certified Fitness Instructors offer classes in:

  • Water aerobics
  • Yoga
  • Piyo – a pilates/yoga mix
  • Zumba – a high-energy Latin-inspired dance-fitness program
  • Total Tone
  • Boot Camp
  • Abs

  Basic membership dues are:

  • $45 per month for single plan
  • $38 per month for single plan with auto draft agreement (30 day cancellation notice required)
  • $72 per month for family plan
  • $65 per month for family plan with auto draft agreement (30 day cancellation notice required) 

 Family plans include up to 4 immediate family members living in the same household. Children must be 13 years of age to join and must be accompanied by an adult until age 16.

The GRMC Fitness Center plans do not require a 1 year contract.

 Our hours of operation are:


Monday-Friday 5:30am-8:00pm

Saturday            8:00am-2:00pm

Sunday               closed

 The GRMC Fitness Center is a spotlessly clean facility, and large, beautifully hand-painted wall murals by well-known local artist, Marc Nesbitt, will inspire you.

 Many classes are offered throughout the day to accommodate busy moms, and a playroom is onsite for ages four and up (no supervised childcare on duty).

So whether you are looking to lose weight and tone up with your personal trainer, or meet your friends for a cup of Starbucks coffee and a quick workout, the Graham Regional Medical Center Fitness Center can accommodate you.

Stop by for a FREE trial workout or a FREE class!


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Senior Focus

The Senior Focus Program at Graham Regional Medical Center provides geriatric group therapy/counseling to improve mental health status of participants.

Older individuals face problems specific to the process of aging. These problems can become roadblocks to living a full and satisfying life. Senior Focus is a mental health program that assists citizens with challeges including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Grief, loss and other emotional issues
  • Role transition
  • Adjustment issues
  • Decrease in coping skills
  • Loss of independence

The Senior Focus staff works with each individual to develop a plan of assistance that provides:

  • Coordination with primary care physicians
  • Assessment of needs
  • Exploration of concerns
  • Goal setting and monitoring
  • Group sessions for education and therapy
  • Social interaction
  • Assistance with practical and safety needs
  • Medication management
  • Lunch
  • Transportation available, if needed

You are eligible for Senior Focus if you:

  • Are 50 years of age or oder
  • Desire to regain mental/emotional health, wellness and stability
  • Desire to have a better quality of life
  • Are able to attend a two-hour session at least once weekly
  • Are able to participate in and benefit from a therapeutic group experience that includes education, intellectual stimulation, social interaction and opportunities to make desired changes in attidude, mood, behavior and outlook
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Physical Therapy Services

Physical Therapy assists the patient in overcoming the disabling effects of injury or illness by the application of heat, cold, light, water, electricity, and/or exercise.

Physical therapy is concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation. This encompasses physical, psychological, emotional, and social well-being.

It involves the interaction between physical therapist (PT), patients/clients, other health professionals, families, care givers, and communities in a process where movement potential is assessed and goals are agreed upon, using knowledge and skills unique to physical therapists. Physical therapy is performed by either a physical therapist (PT) or an assistant (PTA) acting under their direction.

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Orthopedic Services At Graham Regional

Graham Regional Medical Center is excited to announce the full-time orthopedic practice of Michael Hay, M.D. Dr. Hay’s office hours are Mon-Fri, 8am to 5pm. The orthopedic clinic is located inside Graham Regional Medical Center’s front entrance in the specialty clinic. To schedule an appointment please call (940) 521-5360. General orthopedics include major joint replacement, trigger finger release, carpal tunnel syndrome and much more. Please review the information below for a look at joint replacement surgery.

 What You Need to Know About Joint Replacement SurgeryA Patients Guide

It’s Time to Take Back Your Life
You have taken the first step toward taking back your life from joint pain.
This handout will help you decide and prepare for joint replacement surgery.

Getting Moving Again
It may come as a surprise to you that total joint replacement patients are usually encouraged to get up and start moving around as soon as possible after surgery – as early as the day of surgery. When you are, medically stable, the physical therapist will recommend certain exercises for the affected joint. Physical therapy is a key part of recovery. The more quickly a joint replacement patient gets moving again, the more likely he or she will regain independence. To ease the discomfort the activity will initially cause, pain medication is recommended prior to therapy. In addition, the physical therapist will discuss plans for rehabilitation following hospital discharge.

Life after Total Joint Replacement
The vast majority of individuals who have joint replacement surgery experience a dramatic reduction in joint pain and a significant improvement in their ability to participate in the activities of daily living. However, joint replacement surgery will not allow you to do more than you could before joint problems developed. Your physician will recommend the most appropriate level of activity following joint replacement surgery.

In the weeks following total joint replacement, certain limitations are placed on every patient’s activities. After joint replacement, a good rule of thumb is that acceptable physical activities should:
• Not cause pain, including pain felt later
• Not jar the joint, as happens with running or jumping
• Not place the joint in the extremes of its range of motion
• Be pleasurable

What is Joint Replacement Surgery?
Hip replacement involves replacing the femur (head of the thigh bone) and the acetabulum (hip socket). Typically, the artificial with its stem is made of a strong metal, and the artificial socket is made of polyethylene (a durable, wear-resistant plastic).
In total knee replacement, the artificial joint is composed of metal and polyethylene to replace the diseased joint. The prosthesis is anchored into place with bone cement or is covered with an advanced material that allows bone tissue to grow into it. Total joint replacements of the hip and knee have been performed since the 1960s. While the expected life of conventional joint replacements is difficult to estimate, it is not infinite.

Preparing for Joint Replacement Surgery
Preparing for total joint replacement begins weeks before the actual surgery date. In general, your doctor may discuss the following with you:
• Autologous blood donation… while some total joint procedures so not require a blood transfusion, it is possible that you may need blood during or after surgery.
• Exercising under a physician’s supervision…it is important to be in the best possible overall health to help promote the best possible surgical experience. Increasing upper body strength is important because of the need to use a walker or crutches after hip or knee replacement. Strengthening the lower body is also key because increasing leg strength before surgery can reduce recovery time.
• General physical examination… patients who are considering total joint replacement should be evaluated by their primary care physician.
• Dental examination… dental procedures such as extractions and periodontal work should be completed before joint replacement surgery to reduce the potential of infection.
• Medications…your doctor can advise you which over-the-counter and prescription medications should not be taken before surgery.
• Stop smoking…to help reduce the risk of post-operative lung problems and improve healing.
• Lose weight… in patients who are obese, losing weight will help reduce stress on the new joint.
• Arrange a pre-op visit… an important opportunity to meet with healthcare professionals at the hospital to discuss your personal hospital care plan.
• Laboratory tests… blood tests, urine tests, an EKG or cardiogram, and chest X-ray may be prescribed to confirm that you are fit for surgery.
Evaluate post-surgical needs for at-home care… every patient who undergoes total joint replacement will need help at home for the first few weeks.

What You May Experience the Day of Surgery
Every hospital has its own particular procedure, but total joint replacement patients can expect their day-of-surgery experience to follow this basic routine:
• Arrive at the hospital at the appointed time
• Complete the admissions process
• Final pre-surgery assessment of vital signs and general health
• Final meeting with anesthesiologist and operating room nurse
• Start IV (intravenous) catheter for administration of fluids and antibiotics
• Transportation to the operating room
• Joint replacement surgery – generally lasts 1 to 2 hours
• Transportation to a recovery room
• Ongoing monitoring of vital signs until condition is stabilized
• Transportation to individual hospital room
• Ongoing monitoring of vital signs and surgical dressing
• Orientation to hospital routine
• Evaluation by physical therapist
• Diet of clear liquids or soft foods, as tolerated
• Begin post-op activities taught during pre-op visit

In the days following surgery, your condition and progress will continue to be closely monitored by your orthopaedic surgeon, nurses, and physical therapists. Much time will be given to exercising the new joint, as well as deep breathing exercises to prevent lung congestion. Gradually, pain medication will be reduced, the IV will be removed, diet will progress to solids food, and you will become increasingly mobile.

Whether you are sent directly home or to a facility that assists in rehabilitation will depend on your physician’s assessment of your abilities.

Potential Risks
The complication rate following joint replacement surgery is very low. Serious complications, such as joint infections, occur in less than 2% of patients. Nevertheless, as with any major surgical procedure, patients who undergo total joint replacement are at risk for certain complications – the vast majority of which can be successfully avoided and/or treated. Infection may occur in the wound or within the area around the new joint. Following surgery, you will receive antibiotics to help prevent infection. You may also need to take antibiotics before undergoing even minor medical procedures to reduce the chance of infection spreading to the artificial joint. Blood clots can result from several factors, including the patient’s decreased mobility following surgery, which slows the movement of the blood. There are a number of ways to reduce the possibility of blood clots, including:
• Blood thinning medications (anticoagulants)
• Elastic support stockings that improve blood circulation in the legs
• Plastic boots that inflate with air to promote blood flow in the legs
• Elevating the feet and legs to keep blood from pooling
• Walking hourly

Pneumonia is always a risk following major surgery. Ask your doctor for a complete list of risks.

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GRMC Gets New Web Site

Earlier this month, Graham Regional Medical Center launched a new web site that will provide users with better communications and information about health care issues in Young County and the surrounding areas.

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GRMC Receives SHIP Grant

Each year, GRMC has the opportunity to apply for the Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) grant. These funds are used for implementation of physician peer review at this hospital. The amount of the SHIP grant is $9,000.

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Imaging Services at GRMC

Imaging services at Graham Regional Medical Center continue to grow, providing local and surrounding communities with some of the latest diagnostic tools available.  If you our someone you know needs an X-ray, CT scan, MRI, Ultrasound, or Mammogram, please call so we can schedule your appointment (940) 549-3400.

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Physician Employment Signed Into Law By Gov. Perry

Last week, Governer Perry signed into law Texas’ hospitals ability to employ physicians (for certain-sized facilities).

Governer Perry Signs Physician Employment Bill

Thank You Gov. Perry

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