Ozarks Healthcare mammogram technologists share passion and thanks for power of mammography

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Breast Cancer Awareness Month may be over, but for Glenda Kentner and Monica Oaks, both mammogram technologists at Ozarks Healthcare, their focus is always on preventing breast cancer through early detection 365 days a year.

As the Ozarks Healthcare Foundation continues its fundraising efforts for the purchase of a mobile mammography unit, some of our staff and patients are sharing their own perspective on the importance of mammograms. Glenda and Monica both have special passions for mammography.

On an average day, they conduct approximately 25 mammograms at Ozarks Healthcare, which adds up to about 4,000 a year. While this number is high for our region, Glenda and Monica are both using their voices to encourage more women to take time to get screened.

“We’re seeing more people who think that it is okay to skip a yearly mammogram,” Glenda said. “The American College of Radiology still recommends women age 40 and older to get screened every year. We see a lot of patients who have skipped mammograms because of COVID-19. Unfortunately, we’re seeing more cancer because of this. In some cases, we don’t know how long the cancer has been in effect. You could have breast cancer and not feel it. That’s the sneaky thing about breast cancer. You might feel a lump, but it’s more unusual. The key is catching it early with mammography.”

While the survival rate for breast cancer is high when detected early, many do not realize its severity when left undetected.

“Cancer can spread like mold on cheese,” Monica said. “Our breast tissue is so advanced with nerves and lymph nodes. Once the cancer gets into lymph nodes, it can attack all of our other organs.

Both Glenda and Monica spend time educating and getting to know their patients on a personal level. Because of this, they are well-known and loved by many in our community. However, many may not know their own personal reasons for being passionate about mammography.

“When I was 29, my doctor found a little lump,” Glenda said. “I had a mammogram done, and luckily, I turned out okay. I was actually in college at the time and drinking too much caffeine. I knew I wanted to help others feel calm like that staff did for me.”

For Monica, her calling to mammography was just that – a calling.

“I worked in radiology doing x-rays quite a while before pursing mammography,” Monica said. “I just felt the Lord was pushing me towards mammography. I didn’t even know Glenda. I believe mammography is one of those healthcare modalities that the Lord leads you into.”

When asked about their excitement for Ozarks Healthcare’s future mobile mammography unit, both Glenda and Monica glow with enthusiasm.

“Mammography itself has improved so much over the past 15 years,” Monica said. “The detail is there, the comfort is better, and radiation is less. We have many women who travel to see us because of the trust we have with them. The mobile mammography unit will be an extension of that trust with our patients and will make mammography more accessible to our area.”

Shawn Marhefka, Ozarks Healthcare Foundation Board member, is just one of many community members who has expressed her appreciation for Glenda, Monica, their love for mammography, and dedication to serving women across Ozarks Healthcare’s community.

“As an enthusiastic advocate for the Foundation’s mobile mammography campaign, I am so thankful for those like Monica and Glenda who have dedicated their careers to helping women achieve longer and fuller lives with the help of technology,” Shawn Marhefka, Ozarks Healthcare Foundation Board member, said. “Especially as we approach a time of thanksgiving, I am mindful of the many reasons we have to be thankful for mammography and the protection – in some cases, life-saving assistance - it provides. I can say from personal experience, they are the best at what they do. Our community is blessed to have these ladies as part of the team at Ozarks Healthcare. Their passion to help us all live longer and fuller lives motivates me to help bring mobile mammography from a dream to a reality.”

The best part about working in mammography is getting to form close and meaningful relationships with patients, according to Glenda and Monica.

“Most people we see are here because they want to be here, and most have a good outcome,” Glenda said. “We try to give all our patients personal attention, because Monica and I feel that’s necessary in this field. Our favorite part of this is definitely our patients.”

If you have questions about scheduling your mammogram, please call 417-257-5901. If you are interested in supporting the Ozarks Healthcare Foundation’s mobile mammography campaign, you can visit https://www.ozarkshealthcare.com/support-us/foundation/mobile-mammography-unit-c... to learn about support opportunities.

The Ozarks Healthcare Foundation, established in 1998 as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) with a local board of directors, serves as a liaison between donors and Ozarks Healthcare to assist the hospital in providing excellent healthcare to the communities it serves. For more information or to make a gift to the Ozarks Healthcare Foundation, please call 417-853-5200 or visit https://www.ozarkshealthcare.com/support-us/foundation/.

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