Shirley Long

Medical X-Ray Technology ’71

Published on January 31, 2019

Alumni Award of Distinction ’02

While helping train students in their clinical practicum, Shirley Long discovered that, while radiologists and physicians had texts explaining how to use mammogram images for diagnosis, there was nothing about how to get those images in the first place.

“If you don’t have the right pictures or the right kind of pictures, the doctors can’t diagnose,” she says.

To fill the gap, she created the Handbook of Mammography (now in its fifth edition), the first textbook specifically for technologists. Combined with high-quality digital imaging, the positioning skills outlined in the handbook enable technologists to show minute changes in breast tissue years before they can be felt.

“That’s such a wonderful place to be: that you’ve caught it so early that the woman has a 95 per cent chance of 20-year survival,” says Long.

— Kim MacDonald