You've probably heard it a couple of times this month about October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The American Cancer Society estimates more than 230,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year.
But thanks to new technology, earlier detection of some of those cancers could save lives.
"I have all the confidence in the world," Marlene Petersen said.
With the right attitude and the right mindset, Marlene Petersen from Hurley, is determined to face one of her biggest battles head on.
"It's a lot to take in, in one month's time. When it's the first time you're hearing it, it's very surreal. You have to wrap your head around it and then you decide that you can do it. Many women have before and they have become an inspiration to me definitely.
In early September, Petersen went in for her routine mammogram.
"I have mammograms every year, religiously," Petersen said.
Only this time her annual visit delivered unsettling news. After her exam, she was called back to have an ultrasound.
"They knew then there was an 80% chance that I had cancer," Petersen said.
The good news is that it was detected early. So early, in fact, that traditional 2D technology would probably have missed it.
"This would have been called normal, we would have recommended a screening in a year and the cancer would have grown and eventually she would have felt this breast cancer," Sanford Radiologist, Dr. David Schlesinger said.
Until the advent of 3D imaging, breast cancer wasn't able to be found until it could easily be seen on screen.
"The difficulty in diagnosing cancer is because cancer is white on a mammogram and normal tissue is white. So it's hard to separate the good white and the bad white and the 3D technology helps us with that," Dr. Schlesinger said.
It helped Petersen's doctors find her cancer early enough to dramatically improve her odds for survival.
"It was not able to be felt, even by my doctor. And so probably without the 3D it wouldn't have been discovered and I guess I can say that I owe my life to it," Marlene Petersen said.
"You look at the 2D and you don't see anything, it looks totally normal and then when we turn on the 3D portion of the exam. It pops out and you see it. Right here there's a breast cancer. You can see there's an irregular mass with these jagged margins," Dr. Schlesinger said.
Recent studies have shown that radiologists can detect up to 30-percent more cancers using 3D technology than without.
"This was caught early, which is why we are doing screening mammograms and why we recommend annual screening mammography. And this is a great example of the power of 3D technology and how it is superior to just 2D," Dr. Schlesinger said.
Although, she still has a long road ahead, Petersen is confident she is well on her way to a cure.
"For the most part, I have met some amazing people who I know have my best interest at heart and I am going to come out on top of this," Petersen said.
Petersen will begin chemotherapy tomorrow and will receive treatments every three weeks for more than three months, then radiation treatments will likely follow.