Kristen Hampton: 'My on-air mammogram might have saved my life' - | WBTV Charlotte

Kristen Hampton: 'My on-air mammogram might have saved my life'

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

As a reporter, everyday we're tasked with 'pitching' stories to our producers. On October 16th, in a meeting with about a dozen of my coworkers, I said, "I'd like to have a mammogram on TV."

I can remember even the most mundane parts of this journey now, starting from the moment I pitched my idea and I got a thumbs up from my team.

I wanted to show women that mammograms aren't as scary as they may seem. The best way to show that was to have a mammogram at 35 years old and record every single part of it and put it out there for the world to see.

I'm clearly not old enough to be suggested for a scan yet, but for demonstration purposes, it's just fine.

My friend Angie died when she was 44 from a horrible breast cancer that spread to her brain. Her outcome would have been very different if she wouldn't have been scared to have a mammogram.

As she laid in a bed dying, I rubbed her bald head and promised her I'd continue her legacy of helping other people.

That's all I intended to do when I pitched this story. I didn't imagine that my mammogram would end up being so important for me.

It was a Friday when I walked into the doors of Charlotte Radiology to have my first screening mammogram.

I never imagined in a million years, just three days after my scan,  I would be sitting in an office with a paper vest on listening to a doctor tell me I might have cancer.

The idea of that still blows my mind.

My original scan came back with an area of concern in my left breast. They called it "architectural distortion."

I had another mammogram. I had an ultrasound. I watched on a TV screen as a technologist moved the scanning device over something that looks just like a bat, buried in my left breast. I even giggled and asked how a bat could have possibly gotten into my left breast.

The entire team at Charlotte Radiology has been amazing. I swear it didn't hurt one bit when Dr. Deborah Agisim did a biopsy of the bat. She even giggled with me when I asked again, if we're sure it isn't just a bat.

The biopsy came back with great news and nerve-wracking news. The mass they found isn't a giant blob of cancer cells. But it is something pretty rare. And in order to test the whole thing for cancer, it has to all be removed.

On November 17, I'm having surgery to remove the bat-thing. I've been told there's a 10-30% chance it could contain malignant cells. I'm not really worried I have cancer right now simply because worrying about it won't change what's in there. It either is or it isn't, and the odds are in my favor.

Instead, right now I'm more focused on the whole reason I started this process. If you're a woman over the age of 40, I want you to get your mammogram. If you're not yet 40, talk with your doctor about risk factors that may mean you get a mammogram earlier.

That's why I took my camera and recorded every step of this journey, including that awful conversation about cancer. Weird? No it wasn't at all. I invited viewers to be a part of this for a reason. Now the reason is even more clear.

Early detection SAVES LIVES. I write that in all caps because it's true. Early detection could have saved my friend's life. It might just end up saving mine.

If you don’t have insurance or the money to pay for a mammogram, you can find options at KomenCharlotte.org or you can e-mail me at khampton@wbtv.com.
 
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