OVMC Cancer Program to Impact Breast Cancer Screening Nationally

Navigator - Patient Team Head to Capitol Hill

Friday, July 17, 2015


Jane Kessler & Kyla Morris

Local Cancer Program to Impact Breast Cancer Screening Nationally

WHEELING, W.Va. –  Two Ohio Valley Medical Center nurses and breast cancer survivors will have the exclusive opportunity to be the only Cancer Navigator-Patient Team in the nation to speak at Congressional hearings on Capitol Hill.   

 Proposed changes to Breast Screening guidelines prompted the National Consortium of Breast Centers (NCBC) to offer an all-expense paid trip to Kyla Morris, a registered nurse and breast cancer survivor, and Jane Kessler, an Oncology Nurse Navigator who worked with Kyla through her treatment, to participate in a Breast Screening Advocacy Fly-In in Washington, D.C. on July 23.  NCBC will pay for air travel and lodging for the participants through a Hologic educational grant. 

Both Kessler and Morris will have the opportunity to give impact statements of their experiences with breast cancer to lawmakers in an attempt to have them listen to their perspective why the U.S. Preventive Task Force (USPSTF) Breast Screening Guideline Recommendations should not be advanced in the legislature.  These guidelines propose to limit the “window” of time that women would be recommended to have screening mammograms.   The USPSTF issued a recommendation of using mammography to screen women ages 50 to 75 for breast cancer every two years.  The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing as long as the woman is in good health.

Morris, who was just 34 years old when she discovered a lump in her breast through a self-exam, said, “I knew enough about breast cancer to know this is wasn’t normal and that I needed to be checked.  The USPSTF’s proposed changes will be very detrimental to women.  They’re taking away the gift of time, of choice for women.  I am honored to get the chance to be an advocate for women and to be a voice is an amazing opportunity.”

“The USPSTF has done a lot of work in recommending guidelines for the American people in caring for their health,” said Kessler, who was 48 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and has been an NCBC Oncology Nurse Navigator with OVMC for two years. “However, they have surely missed the mark with the recommendation to limit general screening mammograms for women outside their sanctioned window of ages 50 to 75.  It would undoubtedly result in loss of lives among American women, as it is an undisputed fact that mortality risk increases with the length of time from disease onset to disease discovery due to delay in the initiation of treatment.”

Kessler and Morris are among 28 other advocates nationwide chosen to attend the event hosted by the NCBC, an organization dedicated to providing opportunities for continuing education to oncologists, surgeons, nurses, clinicians, and administrators in order to help in advancing the delivery of treatment options and quality of care.  According to the NCBC,  nearly 20 clinical/women’s health organizations have stated their opposition to all or some portion of the USPSTF recommendations.

Ohio Valley Medical Center, located in Wheeling, W. Va., and East Ohio Regional Hospital, located in Martins Ferry, Ohio, are a 340-bed combined organization with more than 1,600 employees providing the area’s only comprehensive orthopedic centers of excellence, behavioral and mental health services and board certified emergency services on both sides of the Ohio River.