Healthwatch 16: A Mammogram Reminder

CRESCO, Pa. -- We are just about done with October, Breast Cancer Awareness month. One woman from the Poconos was eager to share a message she thinks others need to hear, this month and all year round.

Doris Mansley, 68, of Cresco, is nothing if not faithful when it comes to her health screenings. She's involved in Geisinger's MyCode genetic research project, which can alert participants of genetic health issues. She was part of the Detect Blood study, which looked to find cancer markers in the bloodstream -- both clear reports. And despite not having any family history of breast cancer, she has never missed a yearly mammogram.

Still, almost a year ago, a routine mammogram found a lump.

"I did not feel it. I did not have any symptoms at all."

Last November, Doris heard the words: it's cancer.

"I had kind of expected it, but when you hear it, the pit of your stomach drops."

Doris met with a team at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center: a surgeon, an oncologist, and a radiologist.

"It turned out to be an invasive ductile carcinoma, grade 2. The grade denotes the aggressiveness of the tumor, so she was at an intermediate level of aggressiveness. If she hadn't come this year, it would have (grown), maybe even substantially," said Dr. Christina Hill, a radiologist specializing in breast imaging.

"Doris is very fortunate that she's so compliant and so vigilant about her health care. I think that's why she has a good prognosis," Dr. Hill said.

Geisinger officials are so proactive about assisting people with mammograms, they even take a bus out into the community to be sure women who want one are covered.

Doris ended up needing surgery and radiation, but no chemotherapy. She says she is healed, feeling great, and eager to spread the word.

"I never have skipped a year. I just feel it's a very important thing. And since this happened to me, it's my message to everybody. Do not give up on the mammogram. Have that mammogram."

A good reminder this month and every month.

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