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Meet Sandie Pfeiffer, a veteran mammographer


October 26, 2019

Mammographers Mary Anderson and Sadie Pfeiffer

After almost 25 years as a mammographer at LifeCare Medical Center, Sandie Pfeiffer hasn't lost her zest for the fight against breast cancer.

Recently, Sandie attended the 23rd Annual Breast Cancer Convention in Duluth with fellow mammographer Mary Anderson.

"I always learn something. They pack so much into two days and to try to absorb everything is a real challenge," she said.

Ms. Pfeiffer learned more about the new technology and is fired up.

"Just to hear people's stories, and this radiologist was just high energy, pro mammographers, complimented the work we do and the lives we save. She was amazing," said Sandie.

"It's always fun to get together and talk afterwards. What one person catches another person might have missed. You come home and are just ready to save lives. They teach you different positioning techniques. It's always a great refresher."

Recently, she sat in the Ultrasound Suite to talk shop.

"One person said, 'There's no one right way to do anything. Pick out what works best for you to get the best images.' It was amazing," she said.

Have any of your family members ever had breast cancer?

"No, but it starts somewhere. There are a lot of women that won't come in for a mammo because they don't have any family history. I wish I could go back and see the percentages of new breast cancers that we find in people who have no family history," she said, again complimenting the new technology.

"We're now finding much smaller breast cancers compared to how big they used to have to be before being detected," she said, wishing she had the time to check all the data on the computer.

"I would love to be able to say how many Stage Ones compared to the Stage Threes and Fours we used to get when they were more advanced," she said.

"Now, we're getting them where they're treatable. It's not a death sentence anymore. Everybody used to think, 'Oh my God! It's a death sentence.' They've come out with so many things to help these women."

It's all about improving the odds.

"Now, instead of hurry up and get into surgery, they're doing radiation therapy or chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before they do surgery so they're not having to take such a large amount," she said.

"And they want to test the chemo to see if that chemo is actually going to do any good for the tumor."

Pfeiffer explained that there are women who have gone through all the rounds of chemotherapy only to find out afterwards that their tumor wasn't responding to that chemo."

Then they have to start over with something different.

"They're really coming a long way before they take everything. I thought that was just amazing. We had even questioned, like, 'I thought she would have had her mastectomy by now' Then, we find out at this seminar that they try the chemo to see if it shrinks the tumor first."

Shortly, Sandie Pfeiffer stood up and went right back to her job of saving lives.


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