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A Harbin Clinic Mammography Tech’s Own Breast Cancer Journey

This October, Harbin Clinic shares the story of an employee who has encountered breast cancer from every angle. As a breast cancer survivor and a mammography technologist in Cartersville, the Harbin Clinic Imaging team member is living proof of how early detection and a positive mindset can save lives. 

When Kim Raulerson was accepted into a radiology technologist program, life got busy, and she decided to put her yearly breast cancer screening on the back burner. With no family history of breast cancer and no pre-existing risk factors, Kim had no looming worries as she put off her annual check-in.

This thought process isn’t unique to Kim. Many women justify that they couldn’t have breast cancer. “I’m too young, I have no family history, I don’t have any risk factors—these are all things I’ve heard when talking to women about early screenings,” explains Kim. “But it’s not that simple. Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate, and I found out the hard way.” 

Kim followed up with her screenings the following year, expecting to have nothing out of the ordinary. What she never anticipated was being diagnosed with breast cancer. “It was a complete shock,” Kim expresses. “They caught it early, but my doctor told me if I had waited one more year, it would have been too late.” After her diagnosis, Kim’s doctor recommended a lumpectomy.

Kim Raulerson, Mammography Technologist

While in surgery a month later, her doctor discovered something that would continue to put Kim’s life on hold. The cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. “After that, I had to start chemotherapy and radiation while still going to school,” Kim explains. “It was the most difficult journey I’ve been on, but I wouldn’t change it.” After a lumpectomy, 16 weeks of chemotherapy and 33 radiation treatments, Kim could finally say that she beat breast cancer—and graduated from her radiology technologist program.

Kim uses her experience as a breast cancer survivor and a mammography tech to understand what her patients are going through. “I know what they’re feeling,” Kim says. “The fear that survivors experience every year when they get screened. I’ve had patients cry because of how terrified they are to get their results, and I think having that understanding and being able to relate to what they’re going through goes a long way.”

Along with Kim, the rest of the team at Harbin Clinic Imaging Cartersville is committed to the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. A few years ago, Harbin Clinic invested in a state-of-the-art 3D mammography system that provides crystal-clear images of breast tissue for Cartersville patients. This technology makes it easier to detect masses and tumors and begin developing a personalized treatment plan for patients.

“I can’t put into words how important it is for women to be here every year to get a mammogram,” explains Kim. “When it comes to breast cancer, everyone is vulnerable.” 

Kim’s approach to her journey is filled with positivity and hope. “I always tell people your story doesn’t end at your diagnosis,” Kim says tearfully. “It’s tough, but a lot of it is attitude and mindset. My advice to others who have been diagnosed is to hold on to hope wherever you can find it.”

From routine ultrasounds to 3D mammograms, Harbin Clinic prioritizes breast cancer prevention and early detection by encouraging annual exams. Schedule your yearly breast cancer screening and take the necessary steps toward breast cancer prevention with the help of Harbin Clinic’s Imaging Cartersville staff.

Published October 19, 2022

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