A professional mammogram technician who has spent 43 years on the job is advising women to do early breast cancer detection so as to boost the chances of survival. Lisa Bye works at the Memorial Hospital of Salem County and talks about her job as well as the experiences she has garnered in helping patients with mammography.
Bye gets to be busier during the Breast Cancer Awareness Month because according to her, this is the time most women come in to have their breasts checked for cancerous tumors. Bye likes being busy with women, saying boobs are her business; while encouraging women to cast aside their fears and do regular screenings because of the benefits of doing it.
The number of women dying from breast cancer has been on the low since 1989, but health authorities still say about 40,000 women may still die from the disease this year in the US – revealed BreastCancer.org; which disclosed that breast cancer comes behind skin cancer in the most form of cancer diagnosed in the US.
Bye started working at the hospital after a two-year program course in mammography from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and worked under 7-8 CEOs and six radiology managers at the Memorial Hospital of Salem County in the early 1970s.
She has worked with different mammography machines at the hospital and praises the current one she’s using now, saying it’s wonderful and works just like a digital camera and she sees the images instantly. It is a 3D mammography machine known as breast tomosynthesis, and there are plans to install a 3D machine soon enough.
“It detects more cancers, and you can see a series of images,” she said. “It allows you to see the layers of fat in the breast, and more insurance (plans) are starting to pay for it.”
Bye disclosed that more women are aware of the need to go for mammography nowadays regardless of the fact that they do not have a family history of breast cancer, but those with family histories need little persuasion to get it done.
She emphasized the need for early detection even though most women are nervous of the mammogram procedure. She added that it is best to do a self-exam every month while a doctor must be seen annually for a breast exam; women aged 40-50 must do a mammogram every two years and women aged 50+ must do it every year.
“One out of eight women get breast cancer, and (many) of them have no family history. Just because you have no family history doesn’t mean you can’t get breast cancer. The ones who receive their regular screenings, we can get earlier detection. Mammography can pick it up before you feel it, and that’s when you want to catch it,” Bye said.