This story is featured in the Fall 2012 edition of myBoone Health magazine. Click here for a free subscription.
Penny Braun is mid-Missouri’s unofficial ambassador for annual mammograms.
Over the last three years, pretty much anyone who has crossed Braun’s path has heard her speak about the need to get screened. That includes friends, family, acquaintances — even salespeople who call her house.
“With me, it’s normally, ‘How do you do? Have you had your mammogram lately?” said Braun, 71, who is a retired English professor at Columbia College and executive director of the local Alzheimer’s Association.
Just this summer, Braun made a point to stop some yard workers at her home as they were packing up to leave.
“As they were leaving I told them, ‘You need to get your wives to go get their mammograms,’” she said.
Braun’s devotion to encouraging mammography comes after screenings helped save her life — not once, but twice — over the last three years.
As recommended for women who don’t have a family history of breast cancer, Braun began getting her annual mammogram at age 40.
The screenings came back clear until three years ago, when doctors at Boone Hospital’s Harris Breast Center discovered a tiny cancerous lump in Braun’s right breast.
She was startled by the cancer discovery. However, she was thankful doctors caught it early. As an even-tempered person, Braun said she simply hunkered down and completed her prescribed treatment.
“I’m not likely to get scared,” she said. “My theory is that if they catch it early, at least you don’t have to worry that you’re too late to get it fixed.”