Healthier Me: Get Your Mammogram

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FARGO, ND (Valley News Live) - What's the first word that comes to mind when you hear the words breast cancer? Bonnie Johnson knows that all too well.

A woman stands while a mammogram is performed at an Atlanta hospital. keywords: breast cancer, mammography

"Scared; you know that is your initial reaction when you hear the word cancer," says Johnson.

Johnson has been cancer free for 26 years and it's all thanks to one thing: mammograms

"I was stage one, and if I hadn't done that when I did and found it when I did, it might have been a totally different outcome," says Johnson.

The Edith Sanford Breast Center recommends that women start getting mammograms at age 40.

"Every woman should have a discussion about their own individual risk with their physician to discuss if there might be a time when maybe they should start sooner, based on their individual risk, and maybe if they should come in more often," says Edith Sanford Breast Health Specialist Nancy Anderson.

Anderson says when it comes to breast cancer,education is key. Some factors, like your age, and genetics, can't be changed, while others, like unhealthy eating and drinking, can be changed.

"When a woman is diagnosed, I think the biggest thing she can do is to make sure that she gets all the information before making her treatment decisions," says Anderson.

Sanford helps women make a decision easier through multi disciplinary appointments

"Women are able to see all of the physicians that will be a part of her treatment team and she is able to get all her information and all her options upfront," says Anderson.

"As time goes on, you learn to live with that and through the mammograms, it gives you a lift and you just keep moving on," says Johnson.