3/18/19

Don’t let fear of pain keep you from life-saving mammogram

She marked her calendar but wasn’t looking forward to it. Hoopeston’s Connie Staton entered Carle Charlotte Ann Russell Medical Center for a mammogram anxious, but left pleasantly surprised by the addition of a new curved surface.

The SmartCurve™ Breast Stabilization System provides a curved compression surface and offers a more comfortable patient experience without compromising image quality.

“It doesn’t add any time to your visit or change how it’s been done before – it’s simply easier on the patient,” said Jolene Duckett, radiology technical specialist.

Duckett said pain is the number-one complaint during a mammogram so her team identified this tool to help alleviate fear, anxiety and discomfort.

Thanks to comfort paddles funded by Carle Center for Philanthropy, Staton is “looking forward to my next mammogram – almost.”

Staton had at least a dozen mammograms in the past. Previously she had her breasts smoothed and flattened, which she found painful.

Now, “It was painless. I didn’t feel confined, and it didn’t hurt,” she said. “I won’t be dreading it next year.”

Following a lapse, Selena McCalla, NP, recommended Staton, 64, get back in the routine of yearly exams.

The American Cancer Society recommends women receive mammograms yearly starting at age 40 unless family history prompts earlier monitoring. Then at age 75, women should check with their provider for the best plan and approach.

“It had been awhile, and it wasn’t my favorite thing in the past, but this was so easy. I’m telling my daughters and friends to get one now. It’s so much better. Maybe another woman will be encouraged to get it now, and it can save her life,” Staton said.

Mammograms are important to monitor any changes in the breast tissue from year to year and to find things you can’t feel.

“It’s important for women to take care of themselves and focus on preventive care,” McCalla said. “So many times, we are focused on caring for others, we overlook our own well-being. With new tools and added comforts, hopefully women will take the time to focus on taking an important first step in cancer screening.”

Carle offers both 2D and 3D mammography. Patients should check with their insurance provider before scheduling. Scheduling is available by calling 217-383-6636 or through MyCarle.

Staton said she’s spreading the word and grateful for the added comfort.

“It’s so thoughtful. I appreciate donors who are kind enough to make life a little easier for people they may never meet,” Staton said.