Breast cancer survivor, tech urges others to get screened

Local News

(WTAJ) – According to breastcancer.org, Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American women, with 1 in 8 getting the disease at some point in their lifetime.

While Geisinger Lewistown’s lead breast care technician Robyn Smith says the cancer doesn’t discriminate with even the healthiest sometimes being diagnosed with it, she says early detection can be a lifesaver.

“The sooner we detect it, means the sooner we can treat it,” said Smith.

According to Smith women are recommended to begin getting mammograms when they turn 40.

“Up until you’re physically not able to because I think a lot of women think there’s a cut off age,” said Smith.

But she adds, that if a woman’s mother were to have had cancer, she should start getting screened 10 years prior to her mom’s diagnosis.

“Let’s say that your mom had breast cancer at age 40. You should have a mammogram at 30,” advised Smith.

Breast Cancer survivor Kim Wert’s mother was diagnosed at age 33.

“I was a little late behind the ball at that point. My very first mammogram was 27, I had just had my daughter and I had a lump,” said Wert.

Wert says that thankfully the lump turned out to be just a milk duct, but the scare was enough that she started going yearly…until she fell off.

“You get lazy. I had missed probably 2 or 3 years prior to my last mammograms,” said Wert.

Not noticing anything different or experiencing any signs, Wert scheduled a screening to get back into the doctor’s, aware of her family history.

It was a Thursday morning, while Wert was on a walk with her friend when she got the call with her results.

“My friend kept tapping me like what are they saying? What are the results,” recounted Wert.

The doctor revealed to her that she had stage 2 breast cancer.

“It was 11 ml big when they found it. Which is tiny,” said Wert.

Still, Wert says her mind immediately went to her kids and family.

“You don’t know if you’re going to be there…because you don’t want to leave them behind,” said Wert.

Thanks to early detection Wert won’t be going anywhere. After undergoing surgery, she’s now cancer free.

“Do not be afraid go. Go, go, go. They say oh it hurts so bad. No what hurts so bad is the surgery, the I’m not home with my family, what’s going to happen. That’s what hurts more than anything,” said Wert.

Smith echo’s Wert saying they’re not there to hurt anyone during the mammograms.

“We have to have a certain amount of compression, and that is so we can spread out the breast tissue and see any abnormalities, so if we can’t get good compression, we’re doing you a disservice,” said Smith.

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