Check yo self before you wreck yo self: Genius 3D Mammography

Why I think the Genius 3D Mammography exam is a genius idea. (See what I did there? Ha!)

3D mammography gabrielle orcutt

Let’s throw it back to the summer of 2007. I’m in my college dorm laying in bed, it’s night time and the window is open with a cool breeze blowing. Jabroni the wiener dog is curled up on his pillow and Izzy the Olde English bulldog is zonked with the snores to share with us all. My boyfriend (now husband) was in bed next to me. In the dark he says,

“You have a lump.”

His hand was on my left breast. I made him repeat the statement, not fully comprehending what just came out of his mouth. “You have a lump in your boob.”

Immediately my hand flew to my chest, swatting his out of the way. Sure enough, at the 1 – 2 o’clock portion of my left breast…there was a lump. It was approximately “two chic peas in a row” in size.

3D mammography

“How did I NOT notice this before?!” was my first thought and quickly followed by, “Please don’t let it be cancer.” Especially not after recently dealing with my brother’s Hodgkin’s Lymphomia diagnosis that had him 3 weeks from death. {LINK TO POST}

I had to wait until Monday to call my OB GYN who’s office is an hour from Penn State. It was another week or so until I had the appointment. You can imagine where my mind was and how focused (or not!) I was on my school work and serving tables.

At 22, it’s really odd going into the Breast Care Services. I was easily the youngest woman there by 20+ years.  I was receiving a few questionable looks from other patients I’m guessing because of my age and the fact I looked 12 and not 22.

The staff was very nice and the sonogram procedure was completely harmless. You wear a scrub top that ties in the front and walk back to a dimly lit room. You sit in a reclining seat and the lights are turned down more so the room is almost completely black besides the glow from the screen. A tube of warm gel gets squirted on your boob and a device that looks similar to a hand scanner they use at the Walmart check out is slide across your chest. Meanwhile, the nurse’s fingers are working the key board a mile a minute taking images of your breast in every direction. I asked her if she loved taking pictures of boobs (I’m a photographer at heart, what can I say!) and after she giggled her answer was yes. Mostly because this position offered a normal 8-5 Monday through Friday schedule.

After the sonogram, you make your way back to the tiny changing room and put your top half back together. Then…you wait. And wait. And wait. It was excruciating. When your name is finally called it’s a sigh of relief in waiting but feel a dark impending doom as you come to terms that the next 5 minutes could change your life and turn it completely upside down…


What a sweet sweet and grateful word that has ever been utter from lips.

My mom would like to argue that she knew it was benign from the get go…as benign lumps are hereditary in my family and to my knowledge none of us ladies has passed because of breast cancer. I left that appointment feeling like a million bucks with a new lease on life. Overwhelming gratitude.

Genius 3D mammography

I still get my lump checked every couple of years. It has truly caused no harm in it’s choice to reside in my body. No change in shape or size and not causing any pain. No hindrance to breast feeding two children besides a case of mastitis with my second baby. Whether or not the lump was the actual cause, you can debate that yourself. It just happened to be the same spot that was red from mastitis is also where the lump lives. I had zero issues the first breast feeding experience.

My biffle (aka best friend, you heard it here first) lost her wonderful Grandma to breast cancer only weeks after diagnosis and treatment. Within a week of finding her Grandma had cancer…her mother was diagnosed as well. Her mother survives.

And in my opinion, one of the best things her mother did, was INSIST that her daughter feel the lump in her breast…to know first hand what she is feeling for when doing self checks at the start of every menstruation cycle.

Knowledge is power. Ignorance may be bliss until it’s too late. Don’t be fooled.

Genius 3D mammography breast cancer awareness

What is a Mammography?

Also known as a mammogram, it is a series of x-ray images take of the breast tissue. This is achieved by placing the breast between two large “paddles” or plates and using compression to create a clear image. ie. smooshing or squeezing together…basically making your boob into a pancake. Booyah!


According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is the second most common cancer for women in the United States, after skin cancer. There are about 2,300 new cases of breast cancer in men each year, and about 230,000 new cases in women each year.

What are the mammography guidelines by age?

  • 40 year olds: Should receive mammography exams if considered high risk. May elect for an exam and if results are normal, can wait for a follow up exam at the age of 50.
  • 50 year olds: Will start to receive mammography exams as most women are considered average risk. Follow up exams will be every TWO YEARS (as opposed to every one year previously covered/suggested by health care/officials.)
  • 75 year olds: Most women will stop receiving mammograms around 75 years of age, as the benefits and harms to performing the test are inconclusive. (I’d assume that if you are still high risk you’d continue to get exams unless your or your doctor feel otherwise.)


There have been advancements in mammography exams? Genius 3D now offers a more thorough exam with greater accuracy – regardless of age and breast density.

What is a Genius 3D Mammography exam?

A traditional 2D exam provides one image of the breast tissue in an overlapping manor. This makes a thorough evaluation more difficult to detect and diagnose early.  The Genius 3D exam provides your doctor with a series of images for an in depth look at your breast tissue, layer by layer. Doctors are able to screen patients for breast cancer with greater accuracy – regardless of age and breast density.

Why choose a Genius 3D Mammography exam?

The Genius™ 3D MAMMOGRAPHY™ exam is the only mammogram clinically proven to detect cancer 15 months earlier than conventional mammograms and reduce callbacks by up to 40 percent. It has also been proven to detect 41 percent more invasive cancers than traditional 2D screenings.

In 2014 alone, more than 200,000 women were diagnosed with an invasive form of breast cancer. That’s why innovative screening technology that allows for better, earlier breast cancer detection is critical.

Who offers the Genius 3D Mammography exam?

There are 2,400 systems already in place in the US. For an exact location check their website and enter your zipcode:

For those living in the DuBois Area, the closest facility is at Punxsutawney Hospital. There are also many other locations within 1-2 hours drive time. I’m kind of surprised Penn Highlands DuBois doesn’t offer this exam.

breast cancer awareness chemo chemotherapy radiation Genius 3D mammography

For cancer survivors local to Penn Highlands: the hospital has a support group that meets monthly. 

Breast Cancer Support Group
Penn Highlands DuBois Events

6:00 PM to 7:30 PM


Hahne Regional Cancer Center
100 Hospital Avenue
DuBois PA 15801

All breast cancer survivors at any stage – newly diagnosed or long-time survivors – can attend. It is for survivors only as its goal is to provide a comfortable place for listening, learning and sharing. It is free to attend. For more information, call Hahne Regional Cancer Center at 814-375-3535