Community reaches out to cancer patients - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Community reaches out to cancer patients

July 29, 2003

Tifton- The radiology department at Tift Regional Medical Center is buzzing about new machine they call CAD, or Computer-aided Detection.

The system acts as a second look for radiologists and can provide a 26% better detection rate for breast cancer.

"The technology behind this is that there are thousands of studies that have been pre-programmed into the CAD system, and through that knowledge base is how it picks up on certain areas that may be an abnormality," explains Radiology Director, Jerry Flannery.

The traditional mammograph film is scanned into the CAD system then loaded into the computer. Anything suspicious will appear on the screen.

"Basically what we'll do is take a closer look at that area. A lot of times it will be okay, but the computer is pretty sensitive in picking up areas of possible masses and calcifications," says Radiologist David Doty.

Unfortunately, there has been no technology that can cure cancer yet, but that hasn't stopped town Tift County residents from reaching out to cancer patients.

"They come in with clean hair. We braid it, we cut it off, and we send it in a bag to Locks of Love," explains Pamela Keith-Morrison of Beauty Villa.

Dozens of people have donated their hair to Locks of Love a program that makes hair pieces for cancer patients. She even had one woman donate a 37 inch long ponytail that was cut in 1916.

"It's easy to take from people, but its a total different feeling to give back something of yourself," adds Keith-Morrison.

Whether through computer technology or cutting hair, South Georgia cancer patients are getting fighting chance and little confidence as well.

Tift Regional Medical Center is the first hospital in Southwest Georgia to have the new CAD system.

Posted at 5:15 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com