By: Noga Noya
Mammography Technician at Midtown Women’s Center

There’s a secret to getting a good mammogram and I share that secret with every woman I meet at the Midtown Women’s Center as well as with friends and family and anyone who will listen.

Relax your shoulder. It’s a simple technique but it works wonders to make the process less painful.

Talking works too. I love to get to know the women who come here and put their trust in us to take care of them and help them through what may be a difficult time. Some women come in angry or upset. Both are understandable emotions under the circumstances but we want to reassure them they are in the best hands.

I do advise patients to bring family members and loved ones with them when they go for a mammogram. Being surrounded by people you love and trust not only for comfort and support but to take notes and listen, because the experience can be overwhelming, is a good practice.

When I started working at a breast cancer facility in 2001, I would tell all of my patients don’t be afraid of the results, if everything is caught in time, there is a solution. Cancer is an ugly word but that does not mean that word will take your life away. You need to be strong and always keep your mind positive.

There have been many strides in treating breast cancer and the survival rate has increased a lot. It is also important to make sure you get a follow-up every year.

When I am working with a woman for her mammogram, I leave the light on so she can see a clear room and know what’s going on. I also try to make her forget that she came to the center. It’s a spa-like atmosphere and we talk about hair, makeup and all things fun to try to keep her mind occupied with happy thoughts.

Patients who are really nervous, I tell them to breathe. Take some time and really breathe.

A lot of patients have implants, and they are afraid that the implants are going to pop with the pressure during the mammogram. I have to reassure them that will not happen.

I have never seen or heard about any co-worker having an issue with an implant popping.

There is a fear of pain, but as women, we get our eyebrows done, ear piercings and tattoos and that hurts much more than a mammogram. The fear of pain should not keep anyone from getting a mammogram that could potentially save their life.

I am motivated to help women. I want to give the radiologist the best image to be able to give our patients the proper diagnosis every time.

I’m proud of the images I take and when a physician looks at my images and says great job, I can go to bed at night knowing I saved a life. Every day I come to work and every day I make a difference.

Breast Cancer Awareness month is a special month to remember: I need to take care of myself and I need to take care of my breasts.

Women need to remember, self-exams can save their life. You know your body best. Take the time to do a self-exam, you are worth it.