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“Luckily, I didn’t wait too long”: Breast cancer survivor urges women to get annual mammogram

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – Statistics show one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, stressing the need to get a yearly mammogram.

WHY?

Mammograms can detect breast cancer at an early stage. They give patients more options and a better chance of survival. But some women avoid getting these exams because they’re scared, and now, one woman in Waterloo is sharing her story in hopes of changing that.

BETH OSBORN’S JOURNEY

It had been seven years since Beth Osborn’s last mammogram.

“My doctor encouraged it, she’s like, ‘You really need to have one done.’ And, I’m like, ‘I know. I know. Everyone keeps telling me that.’ She goes, ‘I’m scheduling you the appointment,'” Osborn recalled.

It turns out, that doctor’s appointment changed her life forever.

“When she came back in and told me they had found something, I mean, of course my stomach drops, and then I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll deal with it,'” Osborn said.

That mammogram confirmed her worst fear: a tumor.

“It was a small one. It was contained,” Osborn explained. “She said it was well-behaved.”

The fear of finding cancer, though, held Osborn back from getting her annual exam.

“Who wants to know that?” she said. “I don’t. It’s a scary thing.”

BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR

Luckily, the doctors found Osborn’s tumor at an early stage. She underwent a month of radiation. Now, one year later, Beth Osborn is a breast cancer survivor.

“It’s amazing to see Beth now and to see how great she’s doing,” Kelly Flaucher, a Mammography Supervisor at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo said. “She knows this was a bump in the road, and it’s behind her.”

Osborn joins a long list of other women who are also cancer-free. At the Covenant Comprehensive Breast Center in Waterloo, each breast cancer survivor signs their name on a letter, which spells out the word “hope.”

“I love that because every time I walk by that [hope] wall, I think, ‘This is exactly why we’re doing what we do,'” Flaucher said.

EARLY DETECTION

Specialists encourage women 40 years and older to get a yearly mammogram.

“If we do find something, you’re not going to be alone. You’re going to have a support team that’s going to help you through that,” Flaucher said. “And, the earlier we find it, the more treatment options you have.”

One mammogram saved Osborn’s life, and now, she has a message to every single woman in her community.

“It takes about five minutes and there’s no pain. I mean they x-ray your breasts and that’s it,” she said. “Get [your mammogram] done. I waited. Luckily, I didn’t wait too long.”

3D MAMMOGRAPHY

Covenant’s Comprehensive Breast Center in Waterloo offers 3D mammograms for their patients. This type of imaging better helps doctors detect breast cancer. It allows them to look at multiple layers of breast tissue without the confusion of overlapping tissue. It’s especially useful for women with dense breast tissue.

THE NEXT STEPS

If you need a mammogram, you can check with your OB/GYN or your regular doctor.

Covenant Comprehensive Breast Center is hosting a “Free Mammo Night” with support from the Care For Yourself program, Covenant Foundation and Check the Girls Foundation.

  • The event is for women who may need helping paying for their yearly mammogram
  • The event will take place on November 15, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • The event will be at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo on the fourth floor of the Outpatient and Women’s Center
  • Transportation is provided, upon request
  • Appointments are required. You can call (319) 292-2225 to schedule one.
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Olivia Schmitt

Morning Anchor

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