Tag Archives: mammogram

A Mammogram Saved Her Life

2016lindawinklerAs a physical therapist and former Ringgold County Hospital employee, Linda Winkler knows the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. “I’ve always exercised and tried to eat well and maintain my weight,” she said. Along with diet and exercise, she had regular physicals and added annual mammograms when she turned 40. In her early 40s, a mammogram showed a lump in her breast, but luckily, it proved to be benign.

A few years later in 2003, she wasn’t as lucky. As a result of her annual
screening a lump was found that turned out to be cancer. After meeting with her oncologist and her surgeon at RCH, they developed a treatment plan that included a lumpectomy and radiation. The team determined that she didn’t need chemotherapy. “I had two surgeries,” recalled Linda. “Then I had 37 radiation treatments.” Talk about convenient! She was back at work two days after the surgeries and could walk down the hallway and have the OR nurses help her with her dressings. “You have to be completely healed before you can begin radiation,” she explained. The radiation caused a bit of dehydration and she drank “tons and tons of water”, but that was the extent of the side effects. By August, a mere four months after her breast cancer discovery, she was declared cancer free.

She is now on medication designed to keep breast cancer from returning and maintains her annual appointments for mammograms and complete physicals, just to be sure. After retiring from Ringgold County Hospital this past March, Linda has been enjoying more time with her two daughters and their families. In late September, she was headed to San Antonio for a grandson’s fifth birthday. “I’m so fortunate to be cancer free and able to enjoy retirement with my grandchildren,” she said. “The exceptional care I received from the staff at Ringgold County Hospital made the whole experience a little more bearable. I really encourage all women to include a mammogram in their annual health care planning.”

Screenings Save Lives

Above, women who are breast cancer survivors circle around two Ringgold County Hospital medical imaging technologists.

Above, women who are breast cancer survivors circle around two Ringgold
County Hospital medical imaging technologists.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month which aims to increase awareness of the disease. Monthly self-exams and annual mammograms are the best way to detect the disease in its earliest, and most treatable stages.

While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages. The American Cancer Society encourages women to make healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and reducing alcohol, if a woman drinks. These choices can help reduce their breast cancer risk. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend women at average risk start screening mammography at age 40 and continue annually or biannually after discussing with their health care provider.

Screening mammography decreases mortality from breast cancer. Residents of Mt. Ayr and surrounding communities are fortunate to have state-of- the-art medical imaging at Ringgold County Hospital. All of the radiologists and technologists at Ringgold County Hospital are state and board certified. Mammograms are performed in a gentle environment designed for comfort and women can be in and out in a little as 10 minutes. The FDAcertified, digital mammography suite offers the best in breast cancer detection; breast biopsies are performed in conjunction with the surgery department.

Did you know breast cancers found during a screening mammogram are more likely to be smaller and still confined to the breast? Finding breast cancer early (called early detection) can improve the chances that breast cancer can be treated successfully and with more treatment options, less extensive surgery, and ultimately, better treatment outcomes.

The American Cancer Society’s breast cancer screening guidelines vary based on a woman’s age and risk factors for breast cancer. It’s generally agreed that annual mammograms for women over the age of 40 are recommended. Talk to your
doctor about the screening plan that is best for you.

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