For some women, getting a mammogram is no big deal. For others, it’s a major stressful event. Mammo tech Denise Daiker watches for the signs so she knows who might need a little extra care and attention.
It’s often the first timers or those who’ve had a bad experience. They are the women with the big eyes and the clenched fists. The ones who are not talking much or talking really fast.
“We can tell pretty quickly if someone is nervous and then we work on helping them relax,” said Denise from Ella Health’s Bel Air Center. “Sometimes it’s making a joke and getting them to laugh and sometimes it’s offering them reassurance and encouraging them to ask a lot of questions.”
It always involves giving each woman the full attention she deserves.
“Our patients are individuals and that’s how we treat them,” Denise said. “We figure out what each one needs so they never feel like they’re just a number.”
It’s a job that Denise loves even after 25 years in the field.
It’s also very personal. Denise was just 22 years old and starting out in her career when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Having watched her mother go through treatments has given her an added appreciation for ensuring that women are well informed.
Denise said she likes the special touches that Ella Health offers such as private dressing rooms, warm robes and a relaxing lounge.
“I love the atmosphere here. It’s not like a clinical center. It’s a place where women can come and take care of themselves,” she said “Too often, women rush through taking care of themselves and this is a place where they can just slow down.”
She encourages women to be consistent in getting an annual mammogram.
“I’ve seen women come in after skipping years and we find something that we could have detected sooner,” she said. “I want women to be informed so they can make the best decisions for themselves.”