Dolores' Story: How Screening Led to Early Detection
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Dolores Dunne LeGeyt is a former Mass General breast imaging technologist who never missed a mammogram. She is also a breast cancer survivor.
Most women don't look forward to having a mammogram, but many report that a good breast imaging technologist can make a difference.
Meet Dolores Dunne LeGeyt, a former breast imaging technologist at the MGH Revere HealthCare Center. When she welcomed her patients, she often heard, “Why do I have to do this?” Her own story provides a compelling answer.
In 2010, Dolores had a routine mammogram performed by a co-worker. "When I looked at my images, I thought I saw calcifications," she says. After additional imaging, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. "I never really got myself crazed because I considered myself lucky that mammography found it early," she adds.
Under the care of Barbara Smith, MD, a surgical oncologist and director of the breast program at the Mass General Cancer Center, Dolores had a lumpectomy followed by six weeks of radiation therapy. Within a few months of her diagnosis, she was back at work and seeing patients.
Dolores describes her breast cancer diagnosis as a leveler. "I'm on both sides of it," she says. "I [was a breast imaging technologist], but I've also been through it so I know how people feel." She recalls that many patients acknowledged being nervous about the exam.
Dolores Dunne LeGeyt
A mammogram can be more uncomfortable for some women than others. To help achieve a good study, my job is to keep the patient relaxed, explain the procedure and work with a patient's concerns.
Former Mass General breast imaging technologist
"Everyone has a different experience," she says. " A mammogram can be more uncomfortable for some women than others. To help achieve a good study, [I tried] to keep the patient relaxed, explain the procedure and work with a patient's concerns."
She also met patients who told her that they were planing to skip their next mammogram. "That's when I tell them what happened to me," she says. "And that I've never missed a mammogram."
Without regular mammograms, Dolores believes that her cancer could have developed into a more invasive type. “Early detection saves lives," she says. "I know it saved mine."
Pioneered at Mass General, breast tomosynthesis is our standard of care for screening mammography.