#MammoSavesLives

Dear Friends,

When you hear the word Cancer and if you are anything like me, you are in complete shock! Your first thought is of death and your world immediately becomes very different for you and your family.

Having had breast cancer myself, I know how my life changed from that day forward, FOREVER! As a career woman, a wife and a mother of two young women, I had no idea what to expect going forward. I had so many questions.

My name is Tina Furmidge, I work in the banking industry, and am an active volunteer in our community and with the Trenton Memorial Hospital Foundation, currently as their Chair of the
Board of Directors. I want to tell my story and to ask you for assistance to purchase a new mammogram at Trenton Memorial Hospital in the Quinte Health Regional Breast Assessment Center. I know firsthand how having a mammogram at TMH changed my life. I was only 49 years old and enjoying life when I had my first mammogram. After that day, I was told that I had cancer.

As I sit and reflect, I wonder what if I’d had a mammogram 2 or 3 years earlier. Would I have had to endure 6-months of chemotherapy, 2-months radiation, and have a radical mastectomy? All I do know now, is just how important having that mammogram was for me personally. I think to myself, what if I had waited and gone when I was 51 or 53, would I still be here? Early detection is the key to survival of breast cancer! For many women (up to 80%), will be diagnosed with breast cancer that have no known family history of the disease. Without a mammogram, they may not be aware they even have a tumour.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for breast cancer. The most advanced diagnostic tool in the fight against breast cancer is early detection and one of the foremost instruments for that is a mammogram. A new Mammogram at TMH means that women will have a diagnosis based on the superior image quality of the new mammogram. Getting a quick diagnosis allowing for an aggressive treatment plan was the best way to save my life. Studies show mammograms are better at screening women under 50 or those with dense breast tissue, to help radiologists to detect subtle abnormalities and pinpoint cancer earlier, so treatment can begin sooner. Surgeons doing biopsies or surgeries also benefit from improved images as they prepare to help the patient. Having state-of-the-art diagnostic tools will help to reduce wait times and improve patient outcomes.

“The new Mammogram still requires compression to create images, but the radiologist interpreting the detailed image will notice the biggest change with images being magnified or adjusted for darkness brightness and contrast. The physician will have the opportunity to manipulate and utilize this new technology to its fullest advantage for a quick diagnosis.” Says Dr. Michelle Walker Radiologist at Quinte Health.

Please give generously! Think of your wife, your mother, your sister, your daughter, your grandmother, niece or aunt. Each one could benefit from having access to a mammogram close to home. At a cost of over $700,000 (which might seem expensive to some), we all must realize that you can’t put a price tag on the life of someone you love.

I experienced many sleepless nights throughout my cancer journey. Some of the decisions I had to make were challenging and life-changing. The support of my family and friends during this difficult time gave me strength when I needed it most. Access to the Comprehensive Breast Assessment Centre in partnership with the Ontario Breast Screening Program at TMH provides a place of healing, compassion and treatment to nearly 2,000 new patients each year and another 3,000 others. It offers prevention tactics, early detection with quick turn around on pathology reports, treatment, and referrals to community resources. Having a mammogram will help reduce mortality from breast cancers by up to 30%.

Statistics show that 1 in 9 Canadian women and 1% of men will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Speaking from personal experience, I totally understand how people battling cancer also have to endure many ups and downs during the course of their treatment. But today, I consider myself one of the lucky ones. My tumour was discovered at an early stage and although it was necessary to remove one of my breasts, I too struggled at times during my treatment. I am alive, well and able to see one of my daughters recently married and enjoy my grandchildren, feeling energetic again!

I urge you to help me. Together we can help other women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer now and in the future. It might be someone you know.

A gift to the new Mammogram will make a difference and will save a life. YOU can make a difference.

Wishing the best of this Holiday Season to you and yours.

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