Glen Rose Medical Center (GRMC) received a welcome donation on Oct. 15 from Dr. Nanette Evans of Stephenville — just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Dr. Evans donated a mammogram machine along with cassettes to hold film and processors through the Roger E. Marks Foundation.

GRMC CEO Gary Marks said this is the first piece of medical equipment to be donated through the non-profit foundation.

“The difficulty of most hospitals is staying up with technology,” Marks said. “We’ve provided this service (mammograms) for some time, but this equipment is an update and gives us better technology.”

The machine, which Evans purchased in 2003, will give doctors a better quality picture than the machine GRMC was using.

“I saw an opportunity for the center to upgrade to better equipment,” Evans said. “I think it’s important to do what you can to give back to the community.”

Evans completed her residency in 1996 and is based at Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital. She has been associated with GRMC since 2000.

She is a general radiographer but has a special interest in breast health.

“It’s an area that is under served and has tremendous opportunity for education,” Evans said. “Mammograms are crucial because they allow us to identify a breast problem before you can feel it.”

Approximately 20 percent of early breast cancer tumors cannot be detected on X-ray. However, 80 percent can be seen before they can be detected by touch. Evans said research shows mammograms reduce breast cancer deaths by 40 percent.

“Through early detection, we’re able to save lives,” Evans said.

Evans said women need to be proactive in their approach to breast cancer awareness. Women should begin self-breast exams in late adolescence to develop the habit of doing monthly exams and to know what is normal for their body.

Regular annual doctor visits are also important for all aspects of women’s health and a discussion with your doctor can help determine when you need to start getting mammograms.

Evans said a woman with no family history of breast cancer should receive their first mammogram between 35 and 40 to establish their baseline. Women should then have an annual mammogram after the age of 40.

Evans said if a woman does have a family history of breast cancer, she needs to establish a timeline with her doctor.

The idea of getting a mammogram sends most women hunting for an excuse to not have one done, but the process does not have to be frightening.

Leah Ratliff, an X-ray technician and a mammogram certified technician, performs most of the mammogram exams at GRMC.

Ratliff asks women to fill out a family history questionnaire before the exam and helps to position and X-ray the tissue.

“It’s really important to get all the tissue in the image,” Evans said.

Once the picture is taken Ratliff checks to make sure it is clear and that the X-ray is marked properly.

“Most of the time, if we see something, it turns out to be nothing,” Evans said. “I really enjoy talking to women and helping them understand something that can be scary.”

“Having Dr. Evans associated with our organization over the last eight years is indeed a positive for preventative medicine in our community and we can’t thank her enough for all she has done.”