Every person has a cause they hold near and dear to their heart and for me it’s breast cancer. As a medical professional who specializes in breast imaging, I have the unique opportunity to help diagnose breast cancer and help women understand that with an early diagnosis and proper treatment they lead a long healthy life.

I know this not only from my medical background but also from personal experience. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine mammogram showed a new mass. I stood by her side as she went through surgery and radiation treatment, and as she lived the rest of her life as a breast cancer survivor.

Because of this experience, I feel my role as a breast imager is to be a compassionate teacher. I take pride in explaining to patients all aspects of their imaging findings and answering every question, so that they fully understand their situation. Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing a woman arrive for imaging studies anxious about what may be discovered. And then to have them leave the office with a normal mammogram and a smile on her face.

As part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I urge all women over the age of 40 have their yearly mammogram. Breast cancer is sometimes found after symptoms appear, but many women with breast cancer have no symptoms. This is why regular breast cancer screening is so important.