Presence St. Mary's Hospital
Breast Health Awareness Shouldn’t End with October

From St. Mary’s Hospital Breast Surgeon Dr. Ilona Kichko, MD

With October behind us, so too is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But the importance of advocating for women to schedule annual mammograms is an ongoing initiative.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women, second to only skin cancers. 1 in 8 women are at risk for being diagnosed with evasive breast cancer, but that risk can be doubled if there is a first degree relative, such as mom, sister, or daughter, who’s had the disease. That’s why it is so important for me and my colleagues to advocate screenings so much.

Prevention and early detection are the keys to overall breast health. Beginning at age 40, a woman in good health should begin having annual screening mammograms. In the case of a breast abnormality, we have the latest technology to help improve the accuracy of the diagnosis and provide direction for treatment.

Digital mammography is the gold standard for advanced detection of breast cancer. Available at all AMITA St. Mary Hospital Imaging Centers, including the hospital and Advanced Imaging in Bourbonnais, this technology, tomosynthesis (tomo) also known as 3D mammography, increases visualization and decreases the need for further tests, most especially for women with dense breasts. 3D mammography produces even more detailed images with greater visualization, and yet there is no additional radiation exposure.

Our Imaging team has recently been recognized by the American College of Radiology with numerous accreditations representing the highest level of image quality and patient safety, including: breast ultrasound, ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, Stereotactic Breast Biopsy, and 2D and 3D mammography.

Few experiences in life are more stressful than waiting for test results, a crucial appointment, or the next phase of care.  St. Mary’s Hospital cancer care offers the most advanced detection and diagnostic technology, progressive treatments and a Breast Nurse Navigator for direct one-on-one support for patients and their families to significantly reduce and ease those stressful times. Our hospital also frequently hosts “mammo parties” which include massages, mini manicures, and games, as a way to help ease some of the stress that some women experience about getting their yearly mammogram.

We make getting your annual mammogram easy. For your convenience at St. Mary’s Hospital:

  • We accept self-referrals and physician orders
  • If you don’t have a physician, you can still schedule a mammogram and we’ll also help you find a doctor to meet your needs
  • Same day, evening and weekend appointments available
  • Same day results available for diagnostic mammograms

The mammogram itself usually only takes about 15 minutes. Any follow-up testing usually starts with additional views and possible ultrasound. If needed, an imaging-guided biopsy is performed to remove cells — either surgically or through a less invasive procedure involving a hollow needle — from an area in the breast suspected to be cancerous. These cells are examined under a microscope to determine a diagnosis. If any evasive cancers are found, that is when we start planning our surgical treatment options. We use the most advanced therapeutic and reconstructive techniques to maximize quality of life and body image and work closely with local plastic surgeons who offer reconstruction for women opt for a mastectomy.

Breast cancer is one disease that is very treatable if found early. Mammography testing is the only modality that has been shown to decrease the risk from dying of breast cancer. The most important thing for women over 40 is to not be afraid to get their mammogram. To learn more about St. Mary’s Hospital’s breast health service or to schedule a mammogram, 815.937.3475

# # #

Dr. Kichko has been on staff at St. Mary’s Hospital, now part of AMITA Health since July 2017, when she joined the practice of Dong Kim, MD, at Presence Medical Group General Surgery located at 555 West Court Street, Suite 412 in Kankakee. She earned her medical degree from University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, Florida and completed her residency in general surgery at University of Illinois Metropolitan Group of Hospitals in Chicago. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kichko, consult your primary care physician or call her office at 815.928.6131.

# # #

About St. Mary’s Hospital

St. Mary’s Hospital, now part of AMITA Health  is a 182-bed acute care facility with a Level II Emergency/Trauma Center serving Kankakee and the surrounding counties. St. Mary’s Hospital has received numerous awards for their quality of care and has been recognized nationally for their achievements in patient safety and satisfaction.

About AMITA Health

AMITA Health is a joint operating company formed by the Adventist Health System in Altamonte Springs, Fla., and St. Louis-based Ascension. With the addition of Presence Health, AMITA Health is now the largest health system in Illinois, comprising 19 hospitals and more than 230 sites of care. The newly combined health system has 900 providers in its medical groups, more than 26,000 associates and 7,000 physician partners and now serves over 4.3 million residents in the greater Chicagoland area.


# # #

Find a Doctor