Just a little blood. That’s all it was, but it was enough to make Linda Maloney pause. She’d never seen this on her nipple before. Maloney was vigilant about performing regular breast self-exams and getting yearly mammograms—she knew what ‘normal’ looked like for her breasts—and this was concerning.
After a follow-up MRI, Maloney was diagnosed with a papilloma, a benign duct tumor, in her right nipple. But there was more: the MRI had also revealed cancer in her other breast.
After a lumpectomy at Northwest Hospital and several rounds of radiation at The Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute at Sinai Hospital, Maloney still finds it hard to believe she had cancer and has a new outlook on life as a survivor. “My journey was a relatively easy one. Everything happened so fast—and this was all during the pandemic—that I didn’t have the downtime to be upset. As soon as I was diagnosed, my care team had a plan and we kept moving.”
What helped Maloney through her breast cancer diagnosis was staying as positive as possible. “You have to think about it as ‘I’m living with this, not dying from this,’” she says. “As my late husband John would say—we’re all just doing the best we can with what we’ve got.”
About one in eight women in the United States will get breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, and mammograms are one of the most important ways women can be proactive about their breast health. That’s why LifeBridge Health is proud to help our patients beat cancer by hosting our fifth annual Mammothon.
This year’s event, happening on Nov. 12, features extended hours of operation for Northwest Hospital’s Center for Breast Health, Carroll Hospital’s Center for Breast Health and select Advanced Radiology locations.
“Mammograms and knowing your breasts can help you realize when changes occur,” says Dona Hobart, M.D., F.A.C.S., breast surgeon and medical director of LifeBridge Health’s breast care centers. “The COVID-19 pandemic is scaring people into missing their screenings—but you don’t want to miss something on a mammogram or other screenings that could be vital in diagnosing serious health risks. It’s even more important to get screened if you are a part of a higher-risk population, like African American or Hasidic Jewish individuals.”
LifeBridge Health is taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our patients by modifying waiting rooms, spacing out appointment times, conducting virtual office visits when appropriate, practicing social distancing and wearing personal protective equipment, like masks and face shields.
“This year especially, LifeBridge Health is passionate about using our annual Mammothon to spur action among women for breast health,” says Dr. Hobart. “By offering extended hours and increased availability at our locations, we’re hoping to get more women in to be screened and take action against breast cancer.”
To anyone who may be apprehensive about mammograms and taking charge of their breast health, Maloney’s advice is this: “Get it done so you can know your body. Don’t be afraid of the process and do what your doctor tells you.”