October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual health campaign designated for raising awareness about breast cancer and its impact on women. This month gives communities, charity organizations, and individuals a chance to connect, share their journeys, and advocate their causes. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Kay Yow Cancer Fund had the privilege of speaking with Kim Lowery, a woman who has an incredibly unique perspective on this matter as a Mammographer and a breast cancer survivor herself.
Never did Kim Lowery imagine being in the same position as her patients at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, where she assisted the radiologist with biopsies and diagnostics as well as screening mammograms as a member of the breast care team. However, after her own yearly mammogram was done she was called back for additional images. Thinking the reason for her call back stemmed only from a bruise she suffered during a Spartan Race, Kim could have easily shrugged off the need for more follow-up. It became quite apparent that Kim completely understood the reality that breast cancer could truly affect anyone. With multiple connections in the mammography department, her friend and coworkers conducted the additional imaging on her and were able to analyze the results rather quickly. She knew something had shown up. Within an hour, Kim found herself lying across a biopsy table.
After officially being diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2021, Kim knew exactly what she had to do. As a skilled expert in the cancer screening field, she had witnessed a variety of these situations from her patients and made the informed decision to undergo a double mastectomy. Only 17 days had passed between the time Kim learned of her diagnosis to the time she entered the operation room.
While this was certainly a time of challenge and uncertainty in Kim’s life, it only proved the power of her profession. Not only did her own experience make her believe more strongly in mammograms, but it has also allowed her to become a more passionate and relatable healthcare worker. Kim’s story has put her in a special position to relate to her patients and walk in their shoes, giving her the perspective and point of view she never had before.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month holds an essential meaning to Kim, both professionally and personally. Now more than ever, she believes that the campaign can remind women everywhere to get an annual mammogram as it can make the greatest difference. She also encourages women to share their stories and participate in local organizations that champion women’s breast cancer, which will grow and strengthen the cancer community as a whole. It’s people like Kim that have the ability to spread awareness and generate real change in our world, and she is truly the epitome of wisdom, courage, and hope.