Patient Stories

Milestone Birthday and a Mammogram

October 6, 2010
CHI Health

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Milestone Birthday and a Mammogram

I’m 40?!!! A milestone birthday celebrated with a big bash. Plus, my first mammogram! 

What should I expect? One co-worker told me after her first screening she never went back. She found the experience extremely painful. That was years ago! She’s not alone. Almost a third of women in Nebraska skip their regular exams.

Times have changed. Back in the day, technicians used film to capture images of the breasts. Today, they use high tech digital images.

My mammography tech at CHI Health Lakeside understood my jitters. Michelle Joslen soothed the nerves and quickly worked her magic. She took four images in less than five minutes. All standing up. The machine flattens your breast like a pancake. Michelle says placing a women in the right angle prevents excessive pulling of the skin. This prevents any pain and strain. (Maybe, smaller breasts hurt less?)

Radiologist Dr. Catie Mendlick took a look at the results. You no longer have to wait for film to get developed. Doctors can detect masses as small as four millimeters. Usually you can’t feel a tumor until it reaches 15 millimeters or 1/2 inch. A computer actually helps scan the image for any abnormalities. Dr. Mendlick finds a problem with one out of every one hundred mammograms. The sooner you notice a problem the better chance of surviving breast cancer.

My best birthday gift: My mammogram shows I’m breast cancer free!

-Sheila

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