The Long Road to Early Detection: Breast MRI and Accessibility
While we fight daily for the health of women through early detection, one of the barriers to care is access. The affordability quotient plays a role, but so does geography. In a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, the more difficult path for rural women needing follow-up breast imaging was highlighted. Specifically, access to breast MR imaging is a challenge – travel time to the nearest clinic or hospital is 50% longer for women in rural communities when compared with women in more densely populated areas.
The two hardest-hit populations of women in this study are rural-dwelling and Native American women. Because breast cancer behaves differently for different ethnicities, and early detection means so much in terms of survival statistics, the lack of accessibility is a real problem.
Proceeding with any radiologist recommended follow-up imaging is key to complete evaluation and assessment. Being able to schedule this promptly at a center near you is a bonus many of us living in urban or suburban settings take for granted. If you are in an area with limited access, your doctor or nurse practitioner is an excellent source for learning what resources are available to you.
As sisters in the battle against breast cancer, we encourage the act of helping each other out as much as possible. Ride-sharing, covering someone’s absence while they travel for their additional work-up, encouraging words and helping hands are all ways we can help one another, no matter our geography.
We may be specialists in the field of women’s imaging, but we can’t help you until you come in the door of our clinics. It may be a longer road to get here, but we want to get you on the road to your best possible health!
Originally published 6/19/14 on mammographykc.com.