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More than just a bad day at the golf course

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Joe Poelker

Release Date: 10/3/2013

Breast Center helps save women across the world

Judi Elston, Breast Center, with Anne Nwabukwu, AWCAA.

Judi Elston, Breast Center, with Anne Nwabukwu, AWCAA.

Park Lane Hospital in Nigeria and St. Anthony’s Medical Center in south St. Louis County have become unlikely allies in the fight against breast cancer.

Next month, the government hospital in Nigeria will donate space to establishment a breast cancer center, in partnership with the African Women's Cancer Awareness Association and the Enugu State Women & Children Committee. St. Anthony’s Medical Center will donate a mammography unit to the center.

In 2008, St. Anthony’s Medical Center donated a mammography unit to the Yardua Teaching Hospital in Nigeria. It was the first time the teaching hospital had such a unit.

Ify Anne Nwabukwu, president and CEO of the African American Women’s Cancer Awareness Association (AWCAA), brought the African and South St. Louis County hospitals.

“This is just awesome,” said Nwabukwu, a native of Nigeria, and a Maryland resident whose own mother died of breast cancer. “Since the first mammography unit, the hospital has screened more than 300 women. The mammogram machine has been a blessing, because women in the northern part of Nigeria most times, due to cultural and religious beliefs, do not readily avail themselves for early screening. With this second unit, we can now establish a breast cancer center at another hospital. Putting the unit in the teaching hospital allows us to make sure the unit is operational and the center is staffed.”

St. Anthony’s Medical Center and the AWCAA came together through National Consortium of Breast Centers, where Nwabukwu sent an e-mail asking for help.

“I immediately responded, saying, ‘I just happen to have the piece of mammography equipment you need,’ ” said Judi Elston, manager of the Breast Center at St. Anthony’s. “We converted to digital mammography, and don’t use the traditional unit anymore – it is obsolete in our stage of advanced technology. It has no value to us, but tremendous value to them.  What an impact that will make in their country, to be able to detect breast cancer in women before they develop a lump.”

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