Today is October 2nd, and we are committed to posting a special Breast Cancer Awareness post as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Today, I am going to share with you a post presented by Roberta Wessell RTR(M), who is the Supervisor of the Breast Center at Mount Desert Island Hospital.

October is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so we are in a sea of Pink.  I would rather call it Breast Health Awareness Month because breast cancer happens all yearI have been learning about breast cancer for my whole life.


When I was 9 years old, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was only 39.  In 1968, Mammograms were not routinely done; I don’t think she ever had one. She found a lump, went to the doctor and when she went into the operating room she did not know what her outcome would be.  This was scary for me; it is hard to imagine what she was thinking.  She was a newly divorced mother with six children to care for.   I know that she was frightened but also very determined to do whatever she had to in order to survive.  Back then, there were no treatment options, mastectomy and then radiation was the only choice, it was called cobalt treatment.  I watched her struggle with this disease for 11 years.


I lost my mom to breast cancer when she was only 50 years old, which is way too young.  My mother’s illness has had a tremendous impact on me; I think that is why I am so passionate about my work as a mammographer.  I know that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing.  We have learned so much since my mom was diagnosed.  I have had mammograms every year since I turned 30, even when my doctor tried to say it wasn’t necessary.  I am not afraid to speak up for myself, and I hope that I can help empower other women to advocate for themselves too.


The technology has improved so that we can find a breast cancer long before it has progressed to be a lump. I am proud to work in this Breast Center with a full field digital Mammography unit which means that we can provide the highest quality of images.  There are other tools available that will help us to make the best decision about our healthcare needs.  We have ultrasound, MRI, and even BSGI.


If a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, she does not necessarily have to have a mastectomy.  A woman doesn’t go into the operating room not knowing her fate like my mother had to do.  We have knowledge, resources and support for each other.  We can openly discuss our fears, ask questions and make sure that we get the answers that we need.  When a woman comes to this breast center, we are all committed to giving the best care possible with kindness, compassion and respect.  We are all in this together, and we want everyone to know that we truly care about them.


Our daily Breast Cancer Awareness posts are sponsored by the Breast Center of MDI Hospital...Your Home for Breast Health. Call to schedule a screening. No referral necessary 207-288-8435