Mobile Mammography Technology Provides Early Detection

Karin Maney knew she needed a mammogram.  After all, it had been four years since her last one. But as a working professional, wife and mother of two grown children, taking time away from her very full schedule was something that was easier said than done.

“As women,” Maney said, “we are often the last ones to care for ourselves, and I admittedly fell into that category.”

Earlier this year, Maney had even received several reminders from friends and colleagues to schedule a mammogram. It didn’t happen until months later when she was given an opportunity simply too good to pass by.

“I was volunteering to help at a Fourth of July celebration at Smith Park in Middletown, and that’s when I noticed Atrium Medical Center’s mobile mammography coach was parked nearby,” said Maney, who lives in Monroe.  “During a break, one of the women I was working with walked over and got a mammogram, and when she came back she looked at me and said, ‘You need to go get one.’”

Maney’s decision to heed that advice likely has had a big impact on her health today.  The professionals at Atrium Women’s Center contacted her a few days after her mammogram. The results, they said, revealed that she needed further testing.  That same week, she received an additional mammogram and sonogram, which led to a needle biopsy.  To her great surprise, Maney learned that she had been diagnosed with aggressive ductal carcinoma.

“Getting that news felt like a kick in the gut.  I just kept thinking this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me. Breast cancer isn’t even in my family history,” Maney said.  

She’s not alone, according to a study conducted by the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon.  It revealed many women don’t schedule mammograms simply because they don’t think they really need one, or that the procedures don’t apply to them.

The Importance of Early Detection

Dr. Heather Adkins emphasizes the vital importance of routine mammograms.

“Karin had no symptoms.  It’s important to understand that not every breast cancer presents itself as a mass, which is why a mammogram is so valuable to detect things that a self-examination won’t reveal,” Dr. Adkins said.

Karin’s early detection allowed Dr. Adkins to remove the tumor with just a partial mastectomy and her oncologist, Dr. Radhika Rajsheker, determined a curative prognosis as she started a course of chemotherapy and radiation.

Maney’s story is one that has been repeated several times as a result of Atrium’s mobile mammography coach.  Anna Meiners, Atrium’s manager of medical imaging and breast services, has had a front row seat for it all since she started in her role nearly nine years ago.

“The mobile mammography program was in its infancy back when I first started, and it’s been amazing to hear how many cancers have been caught at an early stage as a result.  The convenience it offers is hard to beat.  That’s why our goal is to be in the community six days out of each week,” Meiners said.

Maney has never regretted her visit and now passionately encourages others to take the same advice she was given.

“Make the time to take care of yourself and schedule a mammogram.  Remember, you only have one life,” she said.

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