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Advances in breast cancer detection

Eighty-five percent of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of this disease, which is why mammograms are so important. New advances in detection and reconstruction surgery are helping more women survive and look and feel more comfortable about themselves again.

Monette Gilding, 67, is a breast cancer survivor who hasn't lost her sense of humor.

"One stop shop. One cuts, the other one pops," she laughs.

She's joking about surgeons who performed both her double mastectomy and the reconstructive surgery that immediately followed. She even calls her new breasts ‘an upgrade.'

"It was okay with me. I mean, I have big boobs," Gilding chuckles.

Surgeon Laura Peterson says breast cancer patients have far more options than they used to. For instance, new 3-D technology called breast tomo-synthesis is helping to vastly improve mammograms.

"It helps, especially women with dense breasts or very nodular breasts," explains Dr. Peterson. "It helps keep them from getting called back for more (mammogram) pictures."

Peterson says extra images produced in the breast tomo-synthesis may have already helped save lives.

"We have found a couple of cancers that we think probably would not have been found on routine mammograms, but with the 3-D processing, we can scroll through and pinpoint a spot very much more clearly," she explains.

Advances in lumpectomies have also helped prevent whole breast removal. Nipple-sparing mastectomies have improved, as has breast reconstruction - which now causes less scarring and is more natural.

Monette Gilding has advice for fellow survivors and patients.

"Hang in there. And just do whatever needs to be done, and just go forward. Don't reverse. Live, don't reverse. Go forward," she says.

Now cancer-free, she's proof you can not just survive, but thrive.

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