Oct 6, 2010 3:50 PM by Carina Corral
KSBY Health Reporter Carina Corral kicks off her weekly series today in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Early detection is the best defense against the breast cancer so her first report is at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center where advances in technology are allowing doctors to better detect and, in turn, cure breast cancer.
Laurel Williams is brave in more ways than one.
She talked openly about being a breast cancer survivor and allowed KSBY News to videotape her mammography at the San Luis Obispo hospital where they are using a new, high-tech machine.
"Besides disbelief, I just didn't want to die young. I have two kids and I wanted to be around to see my grandkids, so that was the hardest part for me was thinking I was going to die," said Williams.
She is hoping this story will bring awareness to regular screenings.
"Well if you have to put it into perspective a moment's discomfort for living a long life is worth it," said Williams.
But sometimes it is the discomfort that discourages women from getting screened, which is Sierra Vista's new mammography machine is a high-tech, soft touch system.
Pads and flexibility allow for more comfort. Mammographer Maria Wood demonstrates that as the paddle comes down, springs allow it to flex with the breast making it much more comfortable for the patient.
The latest in digital mammography also allows for better pictures.
" You can see from skin line all the way back to muscle, the contrast is more so you can see change in the breast, you can see changes that are as small as grains of sand," said Wood.
The new technology picks up every last detail of the breast tissue, which can lead to early detection.
" They found something they've never seen before so they had to do some follow up tests to make sure I was okay," said Williams.
Thankfully it was "okay," but had it been something more, it likely would have been small enough to cure, whereas before... " It might have taken a little longer with an older system to see these changes," added Wood.
And on a side note, after each mammogram the padding on the machine is changed. Sierra Vista was worried about the waste, but the maker assured administrators the pads are recycled and made into carpet padding.