New technology changes scope of breast cancer


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – October is national breast cancer awareness month. According to the American College of Radiology, nearly 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

There’s a new technology here in the Wabash Valley that’s helping to decrease these statistics.

It’s hard to find Sue Jarvis without a smile. But twenty years ago, her life was put on halt when she discovered she had breast cancer at 40-years-old.

“It was a long year. I’m not going to say it wasn’t,” said Jarvis.

“I describe it like driving down the street and you take your eyes off the road for a brief second and when you look back all the brake lights are on. You get that terrible feeling in the pit of your stomach. That’s what it feels like,” said Jarvis.

She endured a year of chemotherapy, radiation and multiple surgeries. Sue isn’t the only person to face this reality.

One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer.

“The earlier we detect people with the best technology, the treatment outcome has the best advantages,” said radiologist Suzanne Hand. “So that’s why in the month of October we begin talking about something we talk about all year long, and that’s early detection.”

Now there is a new technology at Clara Fairbanks Center for Women at Union Hospital that’s helping to detect breast cancer at its earliest stage.

“Here at Clara Fairbanks we have the three dimension mammography unit. So not only are we looking at the mammogram and breast tissue, we are looking at them in layers like a three-dimensional view,” said Hand.

This technology allows doctors to find cancerous signs that may be hidden in the density of the breast tissue. Health care professionals are able to analyze the pictures in different layers so test results are accurate and reliable.

This three-dimensional mammography unit is the only one of its kind in the Wabash Valley. This ensures the women in Vigo County and the surrounding counties receive the top care with the best technology without traveling too far.

Healthcare professionals recommend women with no family history get their first mammogram at forty.

“I hope for the future that until we find out what causes breast cancer, that we continue to increase technology to fight cancers early,” said Jarvis.

Now Sue is the director of the oncology unit at Union Hospital. She says she can relate to patients on a more empathetic level because she knows what they’re experiencing.

“I never asked why me. I always just asked Him to use me,” said Jarvis. “I think this is what I do today because of that,” said Jarvis.

For more information on services at Clara Fairbanks Center for Women, click here: