Lucy Nordenstrom, left, a breast cancer survivor and a mammography technician, diagnosed Ann Rudel six years ago. The two are working to raise money for a 3-D mammography machine at Edgerton Hospital and Health Services.


Bonnie Robinson believes 3-D digital mammography could have saved her some stress when diagnosed with breast cancer.

Robinson, director of the Edgerton Hospital Capital Foundation, was called back after a standard mammogram 15 years ago for additional screenings, she said.

While she waited for her next screening, Robinson said the worry made her brain feel like rotted fruit smashed with a heavy hand.

“Your brain is a mess,” she said.

Years later, Robinson’s experience has prompted her to launch a campaign to raise money to bring 3-D digital mammography to Edgerton Hospital and Health Services.

The advanced technology allows radiologists to capture a comprehensive picture of the breast in multiple layers, instead of in one flat image, said Tammy Stearns, Edgerton Hospital radiology manager.

Better images can reduce the number of patients who get called back for additional screenings, Stearns said. Patients get called back when a mammogram shows a suspicious mass or growth in the breast.

About 10 percent of patients get called back with standard mammography technology, Stearns said.

SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Janesville, which operates in the same health system as Edgerton Hospital, is considering adding 3-D mammography in the future, said Kathryn Scott, spokeswoman for St. Mary’s, in an email to The Gazette.

SSM Health St. Clare Hospital-Baraboo started offering the service this week, Scott said. Janesville patients can go to the Baraboo hospital for 3-D mammography if they request it.

Mercyhealth Breast Center offers 3-D mammography, Trish Reed, spokesperson for Mercyhealth said. It was the first organization in Rock County to do so, starting in 2016.

The technology allows medical professionals to catch concerns sooner, Stearns said.

Ann Rudel believes her stage 2A lobular breast cancer could have been detected sooner if 3-D mammography was available, she said.

Rudel, a certified occupational therapy assistant at Edgerton Hospital, was diagnosed six years ago and still takes hormone replacement medication for treatment, she said.

Her cancer was diagnosed by Lucy Nordenstrom, mammography technician at Edgerton Hospital and fellow breast cancer survivor, she said.

Rudel said it was a godsend to have a coworker who could answer her questions and understand her pain.

Rudel, Nordenstrom and Robinson passed around a tissue box Wednesday afternoon as they shared their stories.

The three agreed that early detection is critical for survival.

The foundation needs to raise $350,000 to bring 3-D digital mammography to the Edgerton facility, Robinson said.

To do so, the foundation has started a Women 4 Women giving circle, Robinson said. The objective is for 100 women—and men, if they choose—to donate or raise $1,000 each.

That would raise $100,000, which would bring the equipment “in the door,” Robinson said. Additional fundraising would make up the remaining $250,000.

Individuals who raise $1,000 would be recognized at the hospital, Robinson said.

“I’m hopeful that our community will realize the value and importance of this issue and will lend their support,” Stearns said in a news release.

Reporter - Milton, Edgerton, Albany, Brodhead, Evansville, Footville, Orfordville, health

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