Skip to Content
Close Icon

"A mammogram saved my life"

Karen Elliott was not supposed to get breast cancer. She was not genetically predisposed and had only a 3 percent chance. But a routine mammogram in June 2007 found evidence of breast cancer.

Luckily, her cancer had not advanced past her lymph nodes. After a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, Karen looks back years later and is thankful that she took time for cancer screening.

“If I hadn’t had a mammogram, I don’t know how bad it would have been before we found it,” she says. 

Elliott knows that women are busy working, taking care of their families, and serving their communities. They often have trouble finding time to care for themselves. She says she was in the same situation and had missed her mammogram the year before her cancer was found.

She hasn’t made that mistake again. “I haven’t missed a mammogram since!” 

Women should discuss timing of mammograms with their primary care physicians. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that for women at average risk of breast cancer, screening mammography be done every 1–2 years beginning at age 40. If you have not started screening in your 40s, you should start having mammography no later than age 50. Screening should continue until at least age 75 years. Mammograms are the only way to catch breast cancer early, which is when it is most treatable.

Elliott, who works as the infection prevention and cardiac stress testing nurse at Community HealthCare System, says cancer changed her life and made her thankful for the excellent healthcare offered by CHCS. “Money is not important. The most important thing is having time with your family and being appreciative of our whole healthcare system. … Cancer is scary, but you learn to live with it and live life in the moment as much as you can. Be happy in your family and have a job that you really love!”

She hopes others can learn that lesson without experiencing cancer.

To schedule a mammogram, call CHCS at 785-889-4272, ext. 2102. Same-day appointments are often available, and some evening and Saturday appointments are offered. Women who get a mammogram during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October will receive some small prizes and a coupon for 20% off one item at the CHCS Coffee and Gift Shop. 


  • * - Indicates a required field