As 49-year-old Andrea G. Brunsman walks through the hallways of Saint Ursula Academy, she can’t help but think back to the crucial spring afternoon that saved her life.
On May 11, 2021, the UC Health Mobile Mammography Unit was scheduled by the school nurse to be outside in front of the all-girls high school in East Walnut Hills, a small suburb north of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, and minutes from the UC Cancer Center.
Andrea returned to Saint Ursula Academy, her alma mater, two years earlier and started her new role as vice president of ursuline identity and campus ministry. She wanted to give back to the school that made an indelible impact on her life 30 years earlier. In addition to serving on the board of trustees, Andrea’s daughter and two nieces attend Saint Ursula Academy.
The UC Health Mobile Mammography Unit offers women in the region a convenient way to receive screenings without having to come to the hospital. UC Health’s unit also offers 3D mammograms, a more advanced screening with more accurate results.
As a wife, mother of two and high school staff leader, Andrea knew this would be an opportune time to get her annual screening, especially since she hadn’t had one due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrea scheduled her appointment online thanks to her school nurse. It was a fast and easy process – 15 minutes in total. She received a follow-up call from UC Health a few days later while on school retreat with seniors. Her 3D mammogram had showed a subtle abnormality that her radiologist wanted to evaluate.
“I found out on the very last day of school that they (UC Health) needed me to come in and look at some things,” she said.
Andrea had a biopsy, and two days later, she received a call saying that the biopsy showed that she had breast cancer. One of her dear friends and colleagues held her hand when her doctor shared the news.
What was supposed to be a quick, routine screening turned into miracle event for her.