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CHI Memorial Mammographer talks importance of getting routine breast exams

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About 37 million mammograms get performed in the US each year.

And all that work means more responsibilities for the experts giving those tests.

But it is work that saves lives, even daily.

On this "Survivor Spotlight" we speak to one of those Mammographers.

There were 30, 272 mammograms at the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center last year.

That includes the satellite campuses in Ooltewah, Hixson, and Battlefield Parkway.

Of those, there were 230 people diagnosed with breast cancer.

And there's one woman who sees the screenings and possible problems first.

Lauren Vaughn is coming up on her three year anniversary at the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center at CHI Memorial.

She's a mammographer and is one of the first people to see something that doesn't look quite right.

"Whenever we do see something that has the signs of something scary. Of course, we have to keep composure, that's what we're trained to do," says Vaughn.

Lauren says there's good news. She's seeing familiar faces every year and has noticed an increase in the number of women who get annual mammograms.

The American Cancer Society says Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.

"Yes, 40. Now, another thing is if your mother or an immediate family member was diagnosed at 35, let's come at 35," says Vaughn.

She says a lot of women get their mammogram religiously, but there is a flip side.

"It's huge, you know, the big, bad, and the ugly. It could have you know, it could have been easier to treat last year if we found it last year, so you just seriously never know. So that's why it's so important to come.," says Vaughn.

Because breast cancer is very treatable if caught early.

Just a reminder, mammograms don't hurt.

They may cause a little discomfort, but no pain.

Now if it's time, go get your annual screening.

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