Buddy Check: Former congresswoman touts importance of mammograms

Buddy Check

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Some women put off getting their annual health exams in 2020 but now that we’re climbing out of the pandemic it’s time to put your health at the top of the to do list.

Although monthly self-breast exams are good; the gold standard is a mammogram. A long-time Nevadan — and familiar face — Shelley Berkely postponed her exam — but explains why she’s eager to get it done now.

Berkley, an educator and former politician, has been getting annual mammograms for more than 25 years. Her life depends on it.

“I get a mammogram every year because every woman in my family, great-grandmother on have died from breast cancer,” she said. “So, it’s obviously a disease that’s prevalent in my family and I’m going to be the first woman in my family not to die of breast cancer.”

She’s returning to Steinberg Diagnostic — a facility that monitors her medical history. Doctor Aanshu Shah is director of women’s imaging.

“Most importantly we look for changes in the mammograms. That’s why radiologists are always asking for prior films because subtle changes in your mammogram from year to year are sometimes the only clue we have that there may be something going on,” she said.

It’s recommended women start getting the procedure at 40 unless, like Berkley, you have a history of breast cancer in your family. But first-timers might be apprehensive.

Berkley urges women to not be afraid and book that appointment.

“It’s not the most comfortable thing in the world but it’s certainly not painful. You get it done and you know what? You live to talk about it the following year,” Berkley said.

Most mammograms take about 15 minutes. 3-D imaging has drastically improved the resolution, creating more detailed pictures. That means there are fewer call backs and more confidence for both radiologists and their patients.


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