‘Make mammograms your New Year’s resolution’: Breast cancer warrior empowers women to get screenings

8News Digital Exclusive

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Director of Physician and Provider Relations at Retreat Doctor’s Hospital in Richmond is pushing other women to get mammograms as she continues fighting triple-negative breast cancer.

Described as the “mammo-queen” of HCA Virginia, Kristin Thompson was diagnosed with breast cancer in October. Despite her diagnosis, Thompson hasn’t stopped working to help other women.

“I got chemo yesterday, so ya know you go to work,” Thompson said. “My journey has been easier than most.”

Thompson has had four rounds of chemo but expects it to end there. She credits her fortune of being able to handle the chemo so well to early detection.

“That has made a difference in my journey. Pay attention to your own body, you need to feel for lumps, you need to look for lumps, any types of dimpling or thickening of the tissue, or discharge from your nipple,” Thompson explained. “It can be nothing, but it can be something significant.”

Being diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer is rare, but Thompson is glad she caught it early.

“You can have a HER2-positive gene, you can also have estrogen or progesterone, those are the things that feed those types of tumors,” she told 8News. “If you don’t have any of those you are a triple-negative. They don’t know what feeds that one. That one tends to be a more aggressive type of tumor.”

Thompson says she is an anomaly of those who normally get a triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis. Women under 50 years of age and African-American women are at higher risk for this form of breast cancer.

Thompson after chemo on 12/30/19 — Earl is a reference to Dixie Chicks’ song, ‘Goodbye Earl’

Thompson’s passion to care for others during her own times of trouble is what drives her to recover faster.

“My phone number is all over the website, call me if you need to have some extra support cause I’ll be there for you,” Thompson said.

Thompson even holds “mammo-parties,” which encourage routine mammography screenings and promote breast cancer prevention every year. Women can come to meet other women to help ease the common fear of getting a mammogram.

Thompson says HCA doesn’t require a prescription for a screening mammogram. They only require that you’ve had a physician relationship for the last two years to follow your care. HCA also utilizes a nurse navigator to calmly communicate with patients when they need to come in as soon as possible after their screenings reveal potential issues.

Thompson told 8News that everyone’s journey through cancer is different, and she is just grateful to use her journey to inspire others.

To schedule a mammogram with HCA, click here.

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