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Patient Advocates Testing for Breast Cancer's Early Detection

Patient Advocates Testing for Breast Cancer's Early Detection

Editor’s Note: The following is the story of Hammond City Councilwoman Carlee White Gonzales, a patient of Magnolia Obstetrics/Gynecology and North Oaks Diagnostic Center.

Councilwoman Carlee Gonzales

After sensing something unusual in her breast, Carlee visited her obstetrician/gynecologist and voiced her concern. Her doctor, Kimberly Guillory, MD, advised she have a mammogram, despite the fact that she was under 40 – the recommended age for a first screening – and had no family history of breast cancer or inherited changes to certain genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2. Carlee had also breastfed her son, which helps lower the risk of breast cancer.

“My wonderful doctor listened to me…,” Carlee shares. “I went to North Oaks Diagnostic Center for the mammo and ultrasound and the staff there were incredible. It was an uncomfortable and fairly unpleasant experience but I knew it was necessary and I have no complaints about the process or care I received.”

When the tests revealed something suspicious, the next step for Carlee was a biopsy, a test that removes tissue or fluid from the suspicious area. The removed cells are examined under a microscope and further tested to check for the presence of breast cancer.

“That was rough,” Carlee recalls. “However, the doctor and nurses at North Oaks were even more incredible this time around. They were reassuring, supportive and kind during a scary experience.”

Fortunately, the biopsy results were negative, and Carlee is healthy today.

“You better believe I will continue self-checks and I encourage all women to do the same,” she discloses. “The days before knowing the results made me think through some terrifying ‘what ifs.’ But this experience just further tells me that it’s worth it to do the uncomfortable and embarrassing things.”

Carlee’s doctor, Kimberly Guillory, MD, notes that as in Carlee’s case, breast self-awareness means knowing what is normal for your own breasts and paying attention to any changes that you might feel.

“If you notice a change, tell your health care provider. Most importantly, don’t panic! Sometimes changes in how your breasts feel can simply be due to hormonal changes,” she explains.

And, Carlee suggests not putting off health concerns because of embarrassment or false confidence that nothing is wrong.“Early detection can save lives,” she warns. “Take advantage of our great local hospital, North Oaks Medical Center, and take care of yourselves!”

Call (985) 230-APPT [2778] to make an appointment with Magnolia OB/GYN
Call (985) 202-5469 to schedule your 3D mammogram.