Coffey Health System’s 26th Annual Women’s Health Conference continues to grow, attracting a record 315 people on October 10.
“This event grows each year, but what truly makes it special is that women embrace it for more than just food and fun—they embrace the opportunity to learn about themselves and their bodies,” said CHS Director of Marketing Tracy Campbell. “The Women’s Health Conference has a spirit and feeling all its own. There are women who wouldn’t dream of missing the conference, and we are seeing more and more multi-generational families attending together.”
Gynecologist Doug Gleason, M.D. stepped beyond breast cancer awareness, giving the keynote presentation on other cancers in women, including uterine, ovarian, and cervical cancer.
“The two most virulent types of cervical cancer are type 16 and 18: they are in 70 percent of the cancers,” Gleason said. "In the United States where we have pap smears, cervical cancer is the eleventh most common type of cancer, and the ninth most common cause of death. But in counties that don’t have pap smears, it’s the third most common cancer and second most common cause of death. So that’s how important pap smears are to developed countries.”
Gleason is a partner at Lincoln Center Obstetrics and Gynecology in Topeka. He is also part of the Coffey County Hospital medical staff, with office visits in Burlington each month.
CHS Chief Executive Officer Leonard Hernandez served as emcee for the evening. He highlighted several milestones attained in the past year, including five-star ratings from Medicare for both the hospital and its long-term care unit, Sunset Manor.
“We’ve had a pretty great year, but our mammography team has accomplished something absolutely unheard of in healthcare, they have achieved 24 consecutive years of zero-deficiency surveys. That means they have had not one bad mark since 1994!” Hernandez said. 22
The hospital’s six mammography technologists—Lynn Bolen, Melinda Chiroy, Jeanne Gerrelts, Mary Ann Magnuson, June Martin-Reno, and Kristen Roney, along with Radiology Supervisor Scott Sutherland—gave a history of the fight against breast cancer from the invention of the x-ray in 1895 to the technology of today.
“We have three things that we hope you will take away from tonight,” Magnuson concluded. “Talk to your doctor about your risk factors. Perform monthly self-exams. You have self-exam shower cards in your gift bags that will walk you through the process. We are always happy to discuss self-exams if you have questions. Last, but certainly not least, get your annual mammogram.”
A perennial favorite took on a slightly different format this year, with a videotaped appearance by local performer Jim Stukey as “Earline.” After five years of talking about mammograms and encouraging women to get their annual screening, Earline visited Coffey County Hospital in September and allowed staff to videotape her mammogram experience.
“A conference without Earline just wouldn’t do, so we made sure that she was able to share her unique wit and wisdom even though she couldn’t be there in person. Kudos to Mammography Technologist Kristen Roney for going along with the fun and holding her own while giving Earline a mammogram! The video can be found on You Tube by searching 2018 Earline Gets a Mammogram.”
As the event continues to grow, so does community support.
“We were honored to have financial support this year from Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, Kan-Seal, and TrustPoint Services, along with nearly 30 businesses, individuals, and organizations who provided door prizes and other gifts,” Campbell said. “We also give a very special ‘thank you’ to Burlington High School and caterer Lindsay Bartlett. Without them, we would not be able to continue bringing together more women each year.”
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