Robert Burger, MD, Director, Women’s Cancer Center at Fox Chase Cancer Center

P6010234TRUE or FALSE: “You can only come to Fox Chase if you have cancer.” ANSWER: FALSE.

Did you know that thousands of patients come to Fox Chase each year for their annual screening tests including mammography, colonoscopy, PSA and DEXA screening to rule out cancer? Mammography is the most widely used screening tool for breast cancer. So why do so many women choose Fox Chase for their mammograms? There are several factors, including convenience and sophisticated technology, but most importantly Fox Chase is home to world-class radiologists with unmatched expertise because they read more mammograms for women with established breast cancers, and therefore, they know what to look for. On behalf of the Women’s Cancer Center, I warmly invite you to make your next appointment at Fox Chase. Learn more about Fox Chase mammograms.

You are about to meet Pamela, an active wife and mother and attorney. Although Pamela knew it was time to get a baseline mammogram when she turned 40 in 2011, she put it off for an entire year. Then, when her next birthday arrived, she took action and made an appointment at Fox Chase. Here is her story – and a brief video that takes you through her experience.
Be well, Bob

My name is Pamela. I am 41 years old and have 3 children. Despite knowing several women, some young, who were diagnosed with breast cancer in recent years, I never had a mammogram myself. Admittedly, I thought about it for 8 years. I finally decided that this was it, and I’m going to do it. A few weeks ago, I called my friend, Lisa, who works at Fox Chase Cancer Center. I mentioned to her that I’d never had a mammogram and she explained that unfortunately there are so many young women like me out there like me who have never done it. Lisa told me that she gets her annual mammograms at Fox Chase because of the expertise of the radiologists – and would not consider going anywhere else.

Making the Call
Just after Memorial Day Weekend, I called Fox Chase to make an appointment. Although I had to speak with several people (insurance questions!), everyone was so pleasant. I made an early morning appointment for later that week because I figured there would be less chance of me backing out!

Time to Go!
On Friday morning, I was so nervous, but I knew this was something I had to do. The drive to Fox Chase was really easy and took less time than I thought. I arrived at the East Garage, which had plenty of parking and was a short walk to the Women’s Center. I was relieved to see Lisa waiting for me, knowing she’d be there with me! When we walked into Mammography, we were greeted by Helen Ayers, who was very friendly. The paperwork was simple and easy and took just a few minutes to complete. Then, Jean Hummel walked in and introduced herself as the technician who would be doing my mammogram. I was feeling really nervous and asked Jean whether it would hurt. She said that it may be uncomfortable, but that she’d make it as quick and painless as possible. She took me to a waiting area and a small room with lockers where she handed me a little hospital shirt/robe. I put my belongings in my locker and took the key with me, which was conveniently attached to a bracelet. Then Jean and I walked to the Mammography Suite while Lisa waited in a room across the hall.

The Test
The room had a vertical machine with pedals on the floor and two glass plates extending from the machine. It never occurred to me that I’d be standing for the test. I’m not sure what I was expecting. I found myself staring at the plates and visualizing my breasts smooshed between them! Jean must have sensed my anxiety because she brought me over to the machine and explained that I’d be standing in front of it, that I’d feel a little pressure and that it shouldn’t really hurt. She also told me that it may take a few minutes to get the lighting right, but after the initial set up, it shouldn’t take that long. My shirt stayed on the whole time and just opened to expose whichever breast was being photographed. Naturally, I felt a little uncomfortable, but it wasn’t like I was standing in a room topless! Jean took a few pictures of each breast from the front and the side. As she had promised, the test did not hurt at all and was just a little uncomfortable. I looked down at one point at my breasts flattened between the glass plates and couldn’t help but laugh at the image.

The Results
After the test was completed, Jean and I walked over to the waiting room where Lisa was waiting for me. She asked me how it was, to which I responded that it wasn’t that bad! Jean informed me that Dr. Evers, the Director of Mammography, would be reading my mammogram. A few minutes later, Dr. Evers entered the waiting room and introduced herself to me. She told me that my mammogram was normal and that she’d see me back here next year. I was relieved to hear those words! She took time to answer some questions which I really appreciated.

What a Relief!
From start to finish, I was at Fox Chase for about one hour and now I have a baseline mammogram! I can’t believe it took me this long to finally get the test done. I am relieved that I did it and I’m glad I had it done at Fox Chase. Although I’m not looking forward to my next mammogram, I know that it is something I have to do and going to Fox Chase will make it that much easier and that much more comfortable.


Pamela Baker