Breast Cancer Survivor Says Regular Checks Saved Her Life - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Breast Cancer Survivor Says Regular Checks Saved Her Life

YAKIMA, Wa -  The public gets a first look at Memorial Hospital's new mammography center, Ohana.  They invited women from all across the Yakima Valley to stop in for a visit today.

Ohana will officially open tomorrow, but women were already signing up for mammograms.  They also toured the new facility.

Ohana hopes to promote breast cancer awareness here in the valley.  A breast cancer survivor says regular checks saved her life.

"It was in December of 2003 that I was diagnosed," recalls Kari Shelton.  She still remembers the day she found out.

"Yeah, I remember going to my appointment.  It was at four o'clock.  The nurse told me the tumor was malignant," says Shelton, a wife, mother and grandmother, "They found a lump at about ten o'clock on my right breast."

Kari Shelton was 45-years-old when she was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer.  She had first noticed the lump when she was doing her monthly self-exam. Ohana supervisor Nancy Roehr says that more women in the Yakima Valley need to follow Kari's lead.

"Nationwide, 80% of women get screening mammograms, but in this valley, it's 40%, so we're working to address these issues of why the patients aren't getting their mammograms and get them in here," says Roehr.

Kari Shelton's willingness to check herself and go in for regular check ups saved her life.  Almost three years after a lumpectomy and radiation treatment, she's still cancer free.

"You can't take things for granted cause you just never know.  It's not always someone else, so you just need to do the best you can to take care of yourself."

Shelton says the one thing she really likes about Ohana is that now for the first time everything a woman will need to be diagnosed will be under one roof.  She had to go to several different places, even Seattle.