Mammogram saves

Topic: Mammogram saves pregnant woman’s life. Now she’s sharing the lesson she learned.

When asked about her family, it’s hard for Yvonne Gonzales not to get emotional.

“I have been wanting to be a mother for the longest time and never thought that I could have any,” she said through tears.

The Central Texas woman and her husband struggled to get pregnant, and she had a miscarriage in her twenties. Finally, at age 33, she got the good news: she was pregnant with a little girl. After that, her family continued to grow. She gave birth to another girl and, a short time later, found out she was pregnant with a third baby.

While still breastfeeding her second daughter, she noticed a painful lump in one of her breasts and “couldn’t stand it anymore.” She went to her OB-GYN, who sent off her for scans.

The American Cancer Society suggests women consider getting annual mammograms beginning at age 40 but recommends they start those annual scans no later than age 45. At the time she found the lump, Gonzales wasn’t yet getting regular scans.

She received a different type of imaging: an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to create images and determine whether a lump is solid or filled with fluid.

“With the first exam that I got, I got in the car with my husband, and I was just emotional because I had a feeling that it was going to be cancer,” Gonzales said.

However, the results of her ultrasound didn’t show an obvious mass.

“She did all the right things,” said Austin breast surgeon Dr. Sangeetha Kolluri.

Dr. Kolluri works with other oncology experts at the Austin Cancer Center, such as hematologist and oncologist Dr. Aneesha Hossain. They explained that an ultrasound is a common first screening step for younger women with a breast abnormality, before a mammogram is performed. Hossain said, in Gonzales case, no one recommended a follow-up mammogram, primarily because she was pregnant.

Topic Discussed: Mammogram saves pregnant woman’s life. Now she’s sharing the lesson she learned.

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