Published on October 21, 2021

Early detection of breast cancer, expert care lead to positive outcome

Hannah Stonehouse Hudson found a lump on her breast during a self-exam last winter.

She met with her doctor at Essentia Health in Fargo, which was followed by a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy before she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Hannah, 43, said she was unsure what to expect when she went in for a double mastectomy in February. But she felt well taken care of by everyone at Essentia, from her doctor, surgeon, oncologist and nurse navigator to all the nurses who helped her when she was hospitalized.

“My nurses were amazing,” she said. “They took such good care of me. They were the people that were there for me. I knew that I was going to be well taken care of. They made sure that I knew that. They made me feel like I was the only one there. They didn’t make me feel like I was bothering them or that I was just another room to check on.”

Hannah says she feels fortunate. She opted for a double mastectomy based on her family history, but she was able to avoid radiation and chemotherapy. Her tumor was sent for testing and was determined to be stage 2 cancer. She says there is a low chance that her cancer will return.

“I try to focus on the positives,” she said. “Yes, I had breast cancer. Yes, I had a double mastectomy. But I had a doctor who jumped right on it. I had wonderful care. I can’t control that it happened. I can’t control any of it. I’m sad and I grieve it. I lost a part of my body. I mourned that. But I am also trying to switch my way of thinking. Part of my self-care is being grateful for the great care I received.”

Hannah says she put off getting a mammogram. She said she plans to help raise awareness of breast cancer and encourage women to get mammograms to promote early detection.

How Essentia Health can help

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Essentia Health reminds women of the importance of annual mammograms. Our high-quality mammography is provided by compassionate experts who strive to make the experience as comfortable as possible.

At Essentia Health-Fargo (3000 32nd Ave S), we’ve expanded our hours for scheduling mammograms through the end of the month. The new hours are 6:40 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6:40 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. on Fridays; and 8-11:40 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23.

Regular business hours are 7:40 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:20 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. on Fridays. There are plenty of mammogram openings in November, as well. Call (701) 364-8200 to schedule yours.

At some of our locations, innovative 3D mammograms also are available. The advanced imaging test combines numerous photos from several angles into a 3D image. The radiologist is then able to examine the breast tissue layer by layer.

Women with an average risk of developing breast cancer are recommended to get a mammogram every year beginning at age 40. The sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat and outcomes are improved.

Essentia has several sources of information and resources to learn more about our mammography program, as well as a High-Risk Breast Cancer Program, which features a thorough history, exam and education session that leads to collaboration on a customized care plan. 

To coordinate interviews, photos, and/or video, contact the media relations team.

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