During an annual wellness appointment in April 2014, Stephanie Evans was informed by her Ob/Gyn that she needed to schedule a mammogram. Her physician discussed the recommendation that some women should have a baseline mammogram between the ages of 35 and 40.
“I was in a bit of denial in April so I waited until October to finally make an appointment,” Evans said. “In October, the annual breast cancer awareness campaign reminded me that early detection and prevention efforts can help save lives.”
Routine breast cancer screening is important for all women, but even more so for those at higher risk. If you are at higher risk of breast cancer, you may need to be screened earlier and more often than women at average risk. It is important to talk with your primary care physician on when to start screening and how often.
“My first mammogram was done in the mobile unit,” Evans said. “The tech was nice, but she cautioned that since this was my first mammogram, I may be called back so they can get more images. Sure enough, a couple days later, I received a call to come in for a second round of images.”
According to cancer.org, “Most of the time, women getting their routine mammogram will receive a letter within 30 days saying the results were normal. But if doctors find something suspicious, they’ll call you back – usually within just 5 days – to take new pictures or get other tests. Getting that call can be scary, but a suspicious finding does not mean you have cancer. In fact, less than 10% of women called back for more tests are found to have breast cancer.”
“I was asked to wait in the waiting room following the second mammogram,” Evans said. “A short time later, they informed me that they needed to do an ultrasound.”
Thereafter, the radiologist told Evans that two spots, one on each breast, were questionable. As a precaution and to be safe, Evans was scheduled to meet with a surgeon. The surgeon reviewed the images and confirmed the need for a biopsy.
“The test on the right lump came back as negative, but they were not comfortable giving me a 100 percent diagnosis that the results on the left lump were negative because of the findings on the images.”
The lump on the left breast was surgically removed and sent to pathology for further testing.
“Negative for carcinoma!” said Evans. “We were so relieved. I am thankful that with every step in the process I was informed and educated as to the why and was given a complete overview of what was to come next in the process. While I was very lucky to not be diagnosed with breast cancer, I know there are others out there who are worried and perhaps are at a higher risk for developing cancer.”
Evans encourages all women, after speaking to their primary care physician, to get the recommended screenings and mammograms. The staff and physicians at Portneuf Medical Center are thorough and there is a certain peace of mind in knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to ensure your breast health.”
To schedule a mammogram, call PMC Mammography at 208-239-1500.