Hallmark program: ‘Meet, Mingle, Mammogram’

Melrose Free Press

Oct. 13, 2011

By Jessica Sacco

“Meet, Mingle, Mammogram” is an opportunity for women who are due for their first mammogram to attend an event that aims to give them a pleasant and relaxing first-time experience.

“There are an awful lot of woman who have a fear of having a mammogram,” said Judy Sadacca, outreach manager for Imaging and Cardiac-Endovascular services at Hallmark Health. “We wanted to have a spa kind of evening so they feel comfortable and schedule an annual for the following year.”

Sponsored by Hallmark Health and the Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the program was developed to eliminate the fear associated with having a mammogram. Women are treated to a spa-like evening, with chair and hand massages, makeup demonstrations and manicures. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres are served and guests walk away with a free “swag bag” filled with goodies like soaps, skin products a first aid kit and more.

Mammographers and breast health educators are also present at the event to provide the opportunity for woman to ask questions about the procedure and learn about breast exams, nutrition and exercise.

Who is eligible to participate?
Women who wish to attend must be ages 40 or older and never had a mammogram (or never had one through Hallmark Health, which operates Melrose-Wakefield Hospital and Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford, among other facilities).

Who needs screening?
The American College of Radiology and the American Cancer Society recommend annual screening mammograms for all women 40 years and older.

John Seccareccio, operations manager of Imagining Services at Hallmark Health, said early detection is the key for breast cancer. The longer one waits, the lower the percentage becomes for early detection.

“Early detection is the best protection,” added Sadacca.

According to Hallmark Health, annual mammograms are covered by insurance if scheduled 12 full months and one day apart. No referral or physician order is necessary.

Building the program
As part of a $40,000 grant from the Massachusetts Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Hallmark Health has planned four “Meet, Mingle, Mammogram” events.

Last year, the organization put on its first event in May, with 21 women attending. Both Sadacca and Seccareccio were pleased with the outcome and reactions from the women.

“The feedback has been really fabulous,” said Seccareccio. “The whole atmosphere just took away from the exam and helped [the woman] with the experience.”

This year, Hallmark Health officials decided to aim their efforts at specific groups within the community.

“We’re targeting diverse populations because they tend to have a harder time connecting with a caregiver,” said Sadacca.

In August, the first of these targeted sessions was held, focused on connecting with Portuguese woman. Hallmark Health partnered with the YWCA of Malden and the Mass Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS) and the 19 ladies who attended were treated to Portuguese cuisine and music.

Although Hallmark health is reaching out to specific populations for some of the sessions, they are all open to all women.

What’s next?
In November, Hallmark Health and Susan G. Komen for the Cure will offer a session aimed at Spanish speakers, and there will be sessions this winter focusing on Haitian and Asian woman. Although Hallmark health is reaching out to specific populations for some of the sessions, they are all open to all women.

All “Meet, Mingle, Mammogram” sessions will take place at a mammography site on 101 Main St. in Medford.

For more information, call 800-540-9191 or check back at the calendar at hallmarkhealth.org to see when the next session is announced.

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