At one of the first breast imaging conferences Pam Kaufman attended, a radiologist called emphasized the importance of the technologist in women's breast health, calling the positioning of the patient "an art".
"If it's not done correctly, the technologist doesn't get the abnormality on the image for the radiologist and the cancer could be missed," she says. "Every time I do a mammogram, I know that the rest of the team will be working off of the image I capture."
Pam knows first-hand the importance of mammography. A close friend ignored a lump in her breast for four years, saying she was "too young" to get breast cancer. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with cancer following the birth of her third child, and passed away just 8 months later.
"I didn't want to see anyone ever go through this," Pam says. "I used my energy to get involved with patient education and pushed to be a dedicated mammography technologist."
A self-proclaimed cheerleader for Yellowstone Breast Center, she lets every patient know that the team is always there for them. She also emphasizes a continuity of care, meaning that the same technician works with a patient throughout diagnosis and treatment to give them a sense of comfort.
After 29 years, Pam continues to be inspired by the patients with whom she works. "The patients that have the best outlook at life and that having breast cancer is just a bump in the road are so inspirational I have a hard time putting it into words," she says.
Women of Breast Health