‘Get it done, be religious about it and stay safe’: Breast cancer survivor stresses the importance of mammograms

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — A Spokane Valley woman made the journey from breast cancer patient to survivor in a matter of months.

Finding out you have breast cancer is bad news enough.

But finding out during a pandemic? Breast cancer survivor, Mauricea Bozarth, described it as ‘frightening’.

“What a double whammy for me, not only to say, you know, they told me I was diagnosed with cancer, but then the whole COVID thing,” said Bozarth.

She found out she had breast cancer in late February to early March of this year.

“I’m always and have always been religious getting my mammograms,” she said. “In a routine examination, they found a spot.”

Luckily, the cancer was caught at stage one.

Bozarth admits to being hesitant about receiving treatment when coronavirus cases were popping up nationwide and locally.

“Not wanting to leave my house, worried if I was going to go to a hospital, what I would be exposed to,” she said.

But she says at MultiCare, it couldn’t have been a safer experience.

“I had to go through radiation, my surgery and everything during the time of COVID,” said Bozarth. “And they made it so safe that it never really even was an issue with me once I started going.”

Now three-months cancer free, Bozarth stresses the importance of getting a mammogram.

Source: Mauricea Bozarth

Now three-months cancer free, Bozarth stresses the importance of getting a mammogram.

“The goal is to find it as small as possible, and that’s really where the power of a screening mammogram comes in,” said Dr. Rachel O’Connor with MultiCare’s Breast Health Center.

The center has taken steps to make things safe from the very start of a mammogram appointment.

“There are screenings in the beginning, we do ask that patients wear masks, we will also be wearing a mask,” said O’Connor. “We’ve changed the flow of patients in the department instead of patients kind of congregating together in the back, they are kept socially distant from each other.”

The center has taken steps to make things safe from the very start of a mammogram appointment.

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Dr. O’Connor says 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and most don’t have a family history of it.

That’s why it’s important for all women over the age of 40 to get a routine exam.

“I thought, I’m not that person, but I’m going to take the steps to ensure my own peace of mind that it’s not going to be me, and then it was,” said Bozarth. “Get it done, be religious about it and stay safe.”

Dr. O’Connor recommends women schedule a mammogram for themselves annually.

This October, MultiCare has been extending its hours for patients needing mammograms.

To make an appointment, call (509) 530-3099 or go to the MultiCare Rockwood Breast Health Center website.