We're putting the spotlight on breast cancer this month, since it is breast cancer awareness month.
Mammography has a bad rap in women's healthcare. While breast cancer affects one in nine women, the fear of discomfort surrounding mammograms prevents many women from getting the exam.
Sanford Health mammography technician, Denine Thiele has made it her mission to make sure women feel comfortable getting a mammogram and understand why it's so important.
Thiele didn't have any family history of breast cancer, but she says that didn't matter, "unfortunately, cancer doesn't discriminate. It picks and chooses when it wants to read its ugly head."
Thiele's health history changed when she was diagnosised with breast cancer. She says it changes everything for her and her family, "I will someday be someone's grandmother, who had breast cancer."
Her breast cancer journey inspired her to switch from a general radiology tech to a mammogram tech at Sanford Health. She says women are often scared and she says it helps them to hear her story.
Se shares her story with at least one patient a day. She says it helps calm nerves. She says a mammogram can help detect cancer early -- and that makes it more treatable.
Thiele says a mammogram takes less than 10 minutes. She says, "It is not pain free, but it really shouldn't be painful either. It is uncomfortable. Compression is uncomfortable, but it is so important!"
The American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms - starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health. The experts also recommend women do self-exams. Knowing your body and spotting the changes are also important tools in the fight against breast cancer.