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St. John’s Episcopal Hospital’s new ambulatory pavilion will provide services to breast cancer patients

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A beam is placed on St. John’s Episcopal Hospital’s new ambulatory pavilion on Thursday, July 7, 2022. (Photos by Paul Frangipane)

When St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway opens its new ambulatory pavilion in the spring, it will provide breast cancer patients services such as medical oncology, infusion and endoscopy on the third and fourth floors. The state-of-the-art facility will be across Brookhaven Avenue from the hospital at 327 Beach 19th St.

Breast cancer is the leading cancer among residents of the Rockaway Peninsula and the breast cancer rates in the Rockaways are higher than the overall female breast cancer rates in all of Queens. According to the city’s Department of Health, breast cancer is the leading cause of premature death (before the age of 65) in the Rockaways, with numbers that exceed the overall New York City cancer-related premature death rate. A year ago, St. John’s breast surgeon Dr. Sharon Koehler spoke of the importance of breast screening and catching cancer at its early stage.

“Breast cancer awareness is vitally important to our community because with early detection we can cure most everyone,” Koehler said during a presentation to the community introducing St. John’s new state-of-the-art 3D mammography machine that will be housed in the new pavilion.

The machine allows clinicians to see breast tissue details more clearly to uncover breast cancer that may have otherwise been hidden by overlying breast tissue. The technology behind the machine is superior to 2D mammography in that 2D mammography images can sometimes produce unclear results, false alarms, or fail to detect cancer. The 3D mammography machine enables clinicians to examine breast tissue one layer at a time by converting digital breast images into a stack of very thin layers for a radiologist to review.

“Call your doctor to discuss any breast health concerns that you may have,” Koehler said. “Mammography is the best screening tool for breast cancer. Please do not hesitate to schedule your mammogram today.”

Meanwhile, more than 200 members of the community attended a launch party for Episcopal Health Services’ new philanthropic entity, the St. John’s ICARE Foundation at the Rockaway Hotel. Since its establishment in May, the St. John’s ICARE Foundation — which stands for Innovation, Compassion, Respect, and Empathy — fosters a culture of philanthropy to secure, manage, and distribute gifts in support of the mission and vision of Episcopal Health Services, Inc. and St. John’s Episcopal Hospital. The Foundation has provided funds in support of equipment, capital projects, special programs, and community initiatives including more than $400,000 in private grant money to fund projects such as Telehealth and the new Mobile Health Unit, $100,000 towards the hospital’s Labor and Delivery Project and $120,000 towards equipment for the Margaret O. Carpenter Women’s Health Center through Invitational Golf Tournaments.

“The ICARE Foundation will both enhance and focus our fundraising efforts so we can maximize the value of our donations and ensure that we are providing aid and services to those who need it most,” St. John’s ICARE Foundation President Renee Hastick-Motes said. “We are so grateful for the generosity of individual donors and organizations who support our mission. This is just the beginning of what St. John’s can do to improve the health of our communities.”

For more information on the St. John’s ICARE Foundation, or to make a donation, visit sjicarefoundation.org.

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