Breast Cancer Prevention

Sami Werner has many things to be grateful for this year. She is a mother, a wife, has wonderful family and friends, but most of all, she has her life.

In September 2010, Werner had her yearly mammography screening at the request of her physician. The screening exam indicated the need for a diagnostic exam, which led to a biopsy that confirmed a small, malignant tumor in her right breast.

“There was no indication that I had a mass in my breast, even after my physician did a general breast exam,” said Werner. “The screening was the only indicator that something wasn’t normal.”

Werner had a right mastectomy on December 13, 2010. During this time, her doctor also discovered that the cancer had spread to one out of 21 lymph nodes, which were also removed, diagnosing her cancer as a stage II, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.

“Because cancer can spread once it reaches the lymph nodes and bloodstream, I underwent five months of chemo therapy treatments.” said Werner. “My last chemo treatment was in June 2011, and I am now cancer free.”

Werner has called herself blessed for being so lucky. She, like so many women, did not have any warning signs that would indicate a tumor.

“I had no history of breast cancer in my family,” said Werner. “In fact, I didn’t really want to get screened, but my physician insisted — I am glad I listened.”

Werner had her mammography screening at RCH through a mobile unit in September 2010. Since then, RCH gained an in-house digital mammography machine capable of completing both screenings and diagnostic exams, which according to Karen Harris, RCH Radiology Director, offers many more benefits to patients compared to the mobile unit.

“Patients are able to schedule a screening, performed by a qualified registered technologist, at their convenience and can have results in one to three days,” said Harris. “Faster results equals more time for patients to act if something does show up on their screen.”

“I can say that early detection can help saves lives,” said Werner. “Who knows what my story would be if I didn’t get screened that day.”

Harris understands that it is difficult to remember when to schedule your yearly screening but has several good suggestions.

“I always encourage my patients to schedule their screenings during their birth month. This way you know about a year has passed since your last mammo,” said Harris. “If you are unsure when to begin your yearly screenings, just ask your physician.”

Digital mammography screenings are performed by RCH radiology department, which is accredited by the American College of Radiology, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional appointment times may be arranged if needed. To schedule your appointment today please call 785.688.4424.