Western Slope’s ‘Mammo Mamas’ offer mammogram info

If you get called back for a second mammogram to check for breast cancer, Joanna Atencio recommends taking a deep breath, then going to mammomamas.com.

Atencio launched the site with friend and fellow radiologic technologist Melanie Cruise in September. The two Durango women have performed mammograms all over the Four Corners area for two decades and have seen plenty of patients panic about breast screenings, lumps and abnormal results.

Atencio and Cruise wanted to take some of the fear out of mammography by educating people about what mammograms are, how to prepare for them, and what a call-back for another mammogram may indicate besides cancer, from a non-cancerous cyst, bump or calcification to something as simple as a blurry image that had to be re-done.

“If people get called back for a mammogram, they think they’re dying. But most of those (second mammograms) come back negative for cancer,” Atencio said.

In addition to a “Don’t Panic” section that explains various reasons why a second mammogram may be needed, the Mammo Mamas site has information about breast self-exams, mammography and other diagnostic tools. Mammo Mamas also has an Android app and an Apple app to help remind women when their annual mammogram appointment should be scheduled.

Cruise and Atencio designated January “Mammo Month” and will have weekly drawings for prizes, including Mammo Mamas clothing and a bath kit. Anyone can enter the prize drawing by “liking” Mammo Mamas on Facebook.com, following them on Twitter, and/or posting at http://www.mammomamas.com/contest-entry-page that they have scheduled a mammogram appointment or recently got a mammogram.

Eventually, Atencio said she wants to expand Mammo Mama’s work to traveling to colleges to discuss the importance of breast exams and acting as patient advocates who help patients understand what their doctor is telling them about breast cancer screenings or treatments in layman’s terms. She also wants to expand donations through the Mammo Mamas site to raise money to help women in need pay for mammograms, gas to fuel up for the trip to the doctor’s office for a screening or breast cancer treatment, and to replace a day’s pay if a family member has to take off work to bring a person to treatment or care for them.


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