Patient and Her Family Encourage Mammograms

Patient and Her Family Encourage Mammograms

Breast cancer affects us all. It affects our mothers, sisters, wives and friends. It affects people of every age, sex and race. The best protection is early detection. Early detection can save lives and mammograms are the most important tool in diagnosing breast cancer. There is no cure for breast cancer, but mammograms can save lives by finding breast cancer as early as possible. The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms by age 45 (see the American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines below for women with average risk of breast cancer.) At Memorial Health Care Systems, we are a part of many patient stories. We hear stories from patients and their families who experience a health concern and want to share their journey to help raise awareness. The following is one of those stories shared with our hospital.

“My best friend, my mom, has allowed me to write our story on a week’s journey that would possibly change our lives. As I matured and became a mother myself, the title ‘mom’ evolved into a whole new meaning. My mom became my best friend, my confidante and my supporter. We spend most evenings on the phone touching base about our day. She called one evening and said, ‘I found a lump in my breast.’ At that moment time stopped, I was trying to wrap my head around it. Instantly, I started to ask questions. How big? How did you discover it? How long have you had it? Have you made an appointment? Mom explained she had it for a little while, it had not gotten bigger, it was a mass large enough to see and she called her doctor to be seen right away. She met Dr. Trisha Sams at the Utica Family Medical Center. After the breast exam Dr. Sams wasted no time in scheduling a mammogram the next day. Dr. Sams would review the results right away and take the next steps if needed. My mom never had a mammogram before and she was very nervous, but Dr. Sams reassured her and kept her informed with every step. The mammogram went well and was not as scary as she thought, she only felt pressure and a small amount of discomfort. Unfortunately, the mammogram was inconclusive and required an ultrasound that was scheduled for the same day. The ultrasound was a painless procedure and also proved that more testing would need to be completed.

That evening our phone call was difficult. I was throwing several questions at her and wanting answers that she did not have. You could feel the tension escalating with emotions and uncertainties. Further testing required a biopsy. They made her as comfortable as possible for the procedure. Five different tissue samples were taken for screening. The next few days were very difficult. Waiting, for most people is a hard task, waiting for the test results of a loved one is overwhelming. We continued our evening phone calls throughout that week. Friday came and I was dreading the thought of not having results by the end of the day and having to possibly go through the weekend with uncertainty. That afternoon my phone rang and I received the text, ‘the biopsy came back benign, No Cancer!’ Dr. Sams will continue to periodically check the mass and my mom will be scheduling mammograms regularly.

I cannot tell you the weight that was lifted from my shoulders that afternoon. I now knew that my best friend would be with me longer to enjoy life; for the foreseeable future we would be able to enjoy our evening phone conversations. Again, I stopped to reflect on the week’s events. I was so happy and blessed with my mom’s outcome but found myself feeling guilty for the mothers and daughters who go through this with much different outcomes. My heart goes out to them.

MHCS indicated that the advancements in 3D mammography have proven to detect breast cancers 15 months earlier, reduce unnecessary callbacks by up to 40%, and find 41% more invasive cancers than standard mammography alone. My mom’s experience has encouraged both her and I to take a different outlook on preventive screenings and we will no longer allow breast health and screenings to go undiscussed amongst our friends and loved ones. Please, talk to your mother, daughter, best friend, and ask them if they have had their mammogram. Early detection can change your life!”

-an anonymous friend of MHCS