Worth the time
Her 'nagging voice' pushed her to schedule a life-saving 3D mammogram.
Carolyn Tillo Published: 11/26/2019
Nollie Silva, 77, remembers getting the reminder from Baptist Health in the mail. “It’s time for your annual mammogram.”
She read it and set it aside. It was 2018, her daughter, Rhonda Hilling, 55, had just passed away unexpectedly, and she didn’t have the energy to think about anything but her grief. She put the mailer aside and forgot about it, even though she had been diligent in the past about getting her annual mammograms.
Six months later, she found the mammogram reminder again. She wondered if she should skip her screening and wait until the next one, which was only 6 months away. But a nagging voice inside her told her to set up her appointment sooner, especially because she had had scares previously — including needing to have three breast lumps removed.
In March 2019, she called to make an appointment, and the scheduling team recommended a 3D screening mammogram. Her insurance covered it, and the procedure offered a more accurate, detailed scan than a traditional 2D mammogram.
Silva’s decision to get the mammogram rather than waiting another six months paid off. After the mammogram, she was called back for an ultrasound and biopsy, which revealed she had stage 1 breast cancer.
Her care team at Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center was quick to take action. In April 2019, within two weeks of her mammogram, she had surgery to remove the lump in her breast. Her physicians, Cynthia Anderson, MD, radiation oncologist; Zheng Topp, MD, hematologist oncologist; and Beth-Ann Lesnikoski, MD, director of the Breast Program at Baptist MD Anderson, worked together to coordinate Silva’s care. Dr. Lesnikoski performed her surgery and was able to remove the cancer.
Over a year later, Silva is doing well and still goes in for regular check-ups. Her next mammogram is in February.
“I could not have been treated any better,” Silva said.
Reconnecting with Baptist
Silva has a special connection to Baptist Health. She worked for Baptist Primary Care for 14 years as a medical assistant. When she saw Baptist MD Anderson being built, she was excited for the community to have access to leading cancer care.
“I would have considered going to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston after I got diagnosed, but Baptist MD Anderson was built and ready and everything was right where I needed it,” Silva said.