We’ve already told you October is breast cancer awareness month, but there’s one important step all women should be taking.
Getting a mammogram can help detect breast cancer early, which could be life saving.
Patty Larson used to get a mammogram every year, until life became too busy and a few years passed by without one.
“My daughter had gone to a physic on a whim and she came back and said: ‘Mom you need to go to the doctor,’ and I said ‘OK why?’ And she said ‘you just need to go,'” Larson said.
Larson decided to take the advice and get her annual mammogram.
“So I did and then it came back where we needed to do additional views and at that point I went, that’s kind of ironic because you know, really? And she was like yeah, it’s probably nothing,” Larson said.
What started out as a funny story turned scary.
“I told the radiologist the story and she laughed, we laughed and no big deal. Went in for additional views and thought you know what, we’re going to biopsy this. Ok, this isn’t funny anymore. What’s going on,” Larson said.
Larson was diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer, meaning it was caught extremely early.
“I ended up having a bilateral mastectomy and life is good,” Larson said.
But without the mammogram, Larson might not have been as lucky due to the small size of her cancer.
“It was caught very early. Basically if I remember correctly her breast cancer kind of looked like little pieces of salt and so that’s something that’s great that we’re able to pick up. We were able to biopsy,” Nancy Terveen said.
Terveen is a nurse navigator for breast cancer patients and says annual screenings should start at the age of 40.
“If we’re able to catch breast cancer early we’re able to have a better outcome for women and that’s what we want,” Terveen said.
Terveen says sometimes fear can scare women away from getting a mammogram, but it shouldn’t hold you back.
“I think there’s a myth out there that it’s quite painful. Honestly, it’s not very painful. Yes there is a squeeze, and it’s uncomfortable,” Terveen said.
But it’s a small price to pay for your keeping your health.
“Catching it at stage 0 was the best thing ever. You know it hadn’t gone anywhere and going in for your yearly mammograms is going to save your life. I didn’t have a lump that I could feel, so it’s the mammogram that did it,” Larson said.
For information about scheduling a mammogram, click here.