Woman’s story spreads message of prevention
Brenda Hankins has a story –– and a message –– for women.
The story: In October 2016, Hankins received a clean bill of health from her primary care doctor. Although her doctor performed a breast exam and found nothing of concern, it was time for an annual mammogram, so Hankins went to Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center for an appointment.
“When they called me back, I knew what is was,” says Hankins, 52, a medical assistant who performs X-rays at Legacy Medical Group–Firwood. “Sure enough, it was a very invasive breast cancer –- ductile carcinoma. I was in shock.”
Hankins underwent a double mastectomy in December 2016; she didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Less than a year later, her prognosis is good; her attitude is even better. “My prayers were answered,” she says. “I caught it early. I am going to be OK. I’m working, I’m walking, I’m hiking. I am thankful for my life.”
Which brings Hankins to her message for others: “Don’t be scared about having a mammogram,” she explains. “If you are nervous, you tell the technician; they will work with you. It could save your life.”
Wearing pink for a message
Hankins’ story inspired her co-workers at LMG-Firwood, a primary care clinic in Sandy. In every October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, they have a “wear pink or casual day” each Friday.
“One of the things we are striving for is to increase the number of folks getting mammograms,” says Lauren Harris, clinic manager. “Our primary care clinic focuses on keeping people healthy, and we are the ones who order the mammograms. The T-shirts are a good reminder for patients.”
The clinic’s staff members go the extra mile. They review each patient’s records. When it is time for a mammogram, the clinic sends email reminders or makes phone calls.
“It’s simple: We are trying to prevent disease,” Harris says.
Brenda Hankins serves as a personal testament to the power of prevention. “If I had not had a mammogram, I stood the chance of my situation being much worse,” she says. “When patients are in the clinic, I tell them my story. I think it helps.”
Media inquiries: Brian Terrett, 503-415-5775