Guest Opinion: 7 things you should know about breast cancer


by Kara Nelsestuen, lead mammography tech, Winona Health

“Please undress above the waist and slip into a gown” is something I say many times a day, every day, as I’m walking a patient to our comfortable dressing rooms. I’m one of the technologists in the mammography suite at Winona Health.

Although it’s something I do all the time, I understand it’s not something our patients do all the time — and they might not be looking forward to it! We care for people who have had many mammograms, and think they are no big deal, and for people who are here for their first mammogram and are nervous, both about how it might feel and about what we might find. Everyone is unique, but what I’ve found is that almost all first-timers feel like they worried for nothing. Plus, the machine we have has a special feature to make it more comfortable.

If you’re due for a screening mammogram, or if you’ve been putting it off and you’re way overdue, please schedule your appointment. My mammography coworkers and I came up with a list of seven things we’d like you to know:

1. It’s important to be proactive about your health — be your own advocate.

2. Although breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, early detection and better treatment options have greatly decreased breast cancer deaths.

3. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Which means that seven in eight won’t!

4. The two most common risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and growing older.

5. Seventy-five percent of women who get breast cancer have NO family history of breast cancer.

6. At Winona Health, 3D mammography is provided at no extra charge.

7. Ninety percent of mammograms lead to nothing but peace of mind.

One more thing, screening mammograms are considered preventive care and are typically covered by insurance. However, if you have trouble affording your mammogram, contact the SAGE Program (or ask us about it when you call).

If you’re due, or overdue, we hope to hear from you soon. Whether we’ll be seeing you for your first mammogram, or you’ve lost count, we’ll make it easy for you, and chances are you’ll walk out with nothing but peace of mind and a smile on your face. To schedule a screening mammogram at Winona Health, a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, call 507-457-4320 (select option one).


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