BayCare Team Member Impacted by Breast Cancer Encourages Early Screening
For Samara Treadwell, breast health has become her life’s mission.
After losing loved ones to breast cancer, her goal is to educate people about the importance of early screening.
“I lost my aunt and mother-in-law from aggressive breast cancer,” said Treadwell, who is an Imaging operation manager at BayCare Outpatient Imaging in Land O’Lakes. “Their cancers were detected at a late stage after putting off regular screening.”
Watching her family members lose their battle with breast cancer was difficult and emotional for Treadwell and her family.
“When they were going through treatment, my daughter, who was 4 years old at the time, said to me ‘Am I going to die from cancer?’” she said. “No one wants to hear that from a little girl.”
The outcome may have been different for both women if their cancers were detected early. But they avoided regular screenings after negative first experiences with mammography, she said.
“It was then when I vowed to become an advocate for breast health,” said Treadwell, who has been an imaging technologist for 20 years. “My goal is to create a good overall experience and welcoming environment for my patients, so they continue to come back year after year.”
Mammography, which helps detect breast cancer, is an X-ray of the breast. Mammography is a safe, low-dose X-ray that can detect changes in the breast before any symptoms appear or can be felt. This is the best screening tool available to find breast cancer for most people of screening age.
"During a mammogram, we take four pictures, two of each breast,” said Treadwell. “Each picture takes about 12 seconds. The machine will lightly press on each breast to ensure the information in the breast tissue is fully captured. The pressure may be uncomfortable, but it’s not painful.”
The goal is to detect breast cancer early in its development. Early detection can lead to less invasive treatment and a more successful outcome. Treadwell knows this firsthand. Her family experience changed her perspective.
“Don’t be fearful. Get informed, talk to your doctor about getting a mammogram, do your monthly self-breast exams, and tell the women in your life to do the same. It will save your life,” said Treadwell. “I get screened regularly. I also have open conversations with my daughter, who is now an adult, about getting screened.”
BayCare Imaging locations across the Tampa Bay area provide a full range of mammography and breast health services. BayCare Imaging utilizes the latest technology, including 3D mammography, to better detect signs of breast cancer. During the COVID-19 pandemic, BayCare Imaging has enhanced its safety procedures to protect patients and team members. To schedule an appointment, call (888) 906-8892 or schedule online.
To learn more, visit ItsinOurHands.org.