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Local woman shares experience during Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Marie Stanley
Marie Stanley, Great Bend, is thankful for the care offered by Heather Ewy, lead mammography technologist at The University of Kansas Health System Great Bend Campus.

If Marie Stanley hadn’t had her annual mammogram in the summer of 2017, “I probably wouldn’t be here right now. I am very lucky,” she said.

Stanley feels fortunate because her breast cancer was caught early after a routine mammogram at The University of Kansas Health System Great Bend Campus.

It was treated early as a result. Today, she is cancer-free.

Stanley, 76, wants to share her story during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to encourage other women to schedule their annual screenings. The month is recognized every October.

A few weeks after the diagnosis, Stanley underwent a lumpectomy in Wichita. She then had 31 radiation treatments over a period of several weeks.

“The lump was very small,” she said. “I would never have found it on my own. Mammograms are life-saving.

“If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your family,” she added.

Stanley meets with her oncologist regularly for check-ups and takes a hormone inhibitor.

“My prognosis is good,” she said. “I recently had another mammogram, and everything is fine.

“I couldn’t have had more compassionate and professional care than I had at Great Bend Campus,” she added. “They took away a lot of the anxiety. I felt confident that I received the best care I could have.”

Stanley admits to being surprised about her diagnosis because there is no breast cancer in her family.

Shannon Deines, imaging manager at Great Bend Campus, noted that those with a family history can be at a higher risk and should consult with their physicians.

“If there is a family history, women may want to consider a mammogram by age 35,” she said. “For others, we recommend annual mammograms begin at 40.”

She noted that local health-care providers follow the American College of Radiology guidelines for breast exams.

“Mammograms are so important because the best way to beat breast cancer is to find it early,” Deines said. “And the only way to find it early is with a yearly mammogram.

“Technology has come a long way over the years. The technology detects so much more today than in the past and the test takes only a few minutes.”

To accommodate busy schedules, Great Bend Campus Imaging Center offers mammograms until 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of the month.

Deines also announced a drawing for a 20-ounce insulated drinking cup filled with goodies during October. No purchase is required.

“We want to recognize women who take their health care seriously and realize the value of prevention,” Deines said.