It’s never too late to have your first mammogram. Just ask Mary Underwood, who had her first exam at age 64.

“My daughter, Karen (Rounkles), had a mammogram scheduled at North Kansas City Hospital, and she asked me if I wanted to get one, too,” Mary said. “I said yes because I figured it was about time.”

Timing is Everything

Mary and Karen, mother daughter duo, get their annual mammogram together.The timing of Karen’s invitation couldn’t have been better. Mary’s first-ever mammogram detected breast cancer. Her treatment plan included a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation.

That was 18 years ago. Mary — now 82 and cancer free — and Karen continue to make the trek to NKCH for their mammograms. Mary’s husband, Don, drives her from Chillicothe, MO, while Karen makes the trip from Columbia, MO.

“We schedule our appointments for the same day,” Karen said. “My sister, Kathy, who also lives in Columbia, rides with me to the hospital where we meet my mom and dad. After mom and I have our exams, we all head to the cafeteria for something to eat. Then, we browse the gift shop and have a fun day in Kansas City. We just make it a family affair.”

The nearly two-hour drive doesn’t keep them away. “We prefer North Kansas City Hospital because it’s our family hospital,” Karen explained. “The staff in the mammography center is so kind, helpful and professional. They explain the procedure and are concerned with our comfort.”

A Unique Tradition

Karen is grateful for the time she spends with her mother. “To have such a personal thing like a yearly mammogram together is unique, especially for 18 years,” she said.

“It has such a great purpose and has given us a special bond.”

As for Mary, she’s become an advocate for annual mammograms. “I always encourage women to get a mammogram, regardless of their age.”

Find time for you and your mom and/or daughter to focus on breast health. Explore our breast imaging services and request an appointment online at