Mayor’s PSA for 3D mammography results in her own diagnosis

A routine public service announcement urging women to get screened for breast cancer has taken on a life of its own. The story has raised awareness in ways few could have imagined.    

Mayor Gina Noble of Stillwater, Oklahoma, insisted she “wasn’t the news,” but others disagreed.

Noble—a board member at Stillwater Medical Center—recently agreed to record a public service announcement to promote a new 3D mammography service available at the hospital.

It’s a logical choice. However, emotion bumped logic when Noble underwent the screening and, hours later, received word that she has breast cancer. Days later, Noble and hospital leaders spoke to reporters. Breast_Cancer_Mayor_PSA reported:

“I was meant to do that mammography, and thank goodness we did because we did catch it early,” Noble said during a news conference. She said the cancer was at Stage zero, meaning it had not spread. The press conference doubled as the public service announcement Noble had wanted to make as mayor to inform area residents that the new technology was available at Stillwater Medical Center, where she is on the board. She used the occasion to urge people to get regular check-ups. “Please make the call and schedule a 3-D mammography. It saved my life,” Noble said. “The radiologist said that they might not have been able to see this in a regular mammogram.”

Denise Weber, CEO at Stillwater Medical Center, joined Noble at the presser and praised her for sharing such a personal issue. The news was posted on the hospital’s Facebook page, too.


Noble insisted “the news is about breast cancer and early mammography,” but the story got the attention of the hospital’s PR department. Shyla Eggers, PR director, said staff members knew the machine had arrived in early June. They have made a stronger push to promote its abilities to the public following the mayor’s diagnosis, she said. FREE DOWNLOAD: How to publish patients’ comments to enhance your physician directory pages.

The 3D procedure, which Weber said takes about seven minutes, allows doctors to view breast tissue in 1mm increments. A 2D scan produces just one image, but a 3D machine can create as many as 50 from numerous angles with a five-second breast compression.

Public awareness and preventative screenings are crucial in the diagnosis of breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about one in eight women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. More than 40,000 women will die from the disease this year.

First published in 2016.


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