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The Carol Milgard Breast Center Celebrates 5 Years of Saving Lives Through Early Detection

TACOMA, Wash. – Five years ago this month, in an unprecedented move, three leading health care organizations in the South Puget Sound joined forces to open the community’s first breast imaging center – the Carol Milgard Breast Center.

A unique collaboration from the start, the breast center is jointly owned by Franciscan Health System and MultiCare Health System, with radiology and management services provided by TRA Medical Imaging. With a shared goal of improving community access to outstanding breast health services, and thanks to the commitment and generosity of a $5 million founding gift from the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation, the Carol Milgard Breast Center opened its doors to patients on February 23, 2009.

Although its true opening date was February 23, the breast center will acknowledge its anniversary on Monday, February 24, 2014. Patients will be surprised with a special treat that day, and the breast center also plans to record a video diary. “We want to capture the thoughts and feelings of our patients, radiologists and staff on this special day,” says Jackie Ostrom, the breast center’s executive director. “Participation will be strictly voluntary, and we hope to release short videos throughout the day on our website and via social media.” The breast center invites all current and former patients and family members to stop by between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to share their sentiments.

At the start of its fifth year, the Carol Milgard Breast Center continues to make a positive impact on our community. Over the last five years, the breast center has provided over 120,000 screening mammograms to women, and more than 250,000 exams and procedures in total. It has served over 70,000 patients, who combined, have visited the breast center over 225,000 times. It’s given well over $2.3 million in compassionate care services to medically underserved and uninsured patients, a key part of its non-profit mission.

“In addition to the continued support by the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation, we rely on our gracious donors to help us offer services to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay,” says Sharon Snuffin, chair of the Carol Milgard Breast Center board of directors.

Dr. P and tech looking at breast image

Last June, the breast center became the first imaging facility in Pierce County to provide 3D mammography, a revolutionary technology many consider to be the greatest advancement in breast cancer detection in over 30 years. The technology has been proven to improve the detection of breast cancer up to 30% over traditional 2D mammography alone.

The breast center’s most important milestone, however, has been saving more lives through early detection. In its first five years, the breast center estimates it has diagnosed more than 3,000 breast cancers. “We’re honored to be making a real difference in our community, one patient at a time,” says Khai Tran, M.D., medical director and visionary of the breast center. “Our primary goal has always been to detect breast cancer as early as possible.”

The breast center supports the American Cancer Society’s guidelines which recommend that women 40 and older receive a routine screening mammogram every year. “Early detection is the key,” continues Tran, “so it’s imperative we continue to encourage women to get yearly mammograms.” All women are at risk for breast cancer, regardless of symptoms or family history. Mammograms can often detect potential problems before they can be felt. Early detection greatly increases treatment options and the likelihood of successful recovery.

If you would like to learn more about the Carol Milgard Breast Center,

The Carol Milgard Breast Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide sustainable breast health services to all women in our community in a caring environment that fosters confidence, comfort, peace and dignity for each individual. The breast center opened in 2009 and was named to honor the spirit of Carol Milgard, a long-time Tacoma resident, philanthropist and 30-year breast cancer survivor. It is jointly owned by Franciscan Health System and MultiCare Health System and managed by TRA Medical Imaging.

Located at 4525 South 19th Street in Tacoma, it is designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. All of the breast center’s radiologists are board-certified physicians and are specially trained in breast imaging. In 2013, the breast center became the first in Pierce County to provide 3D mammography (tomosynthesis).


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