Why the need to repeat and re-emphasize? Approximately half of all women (half!) aren’t getting their annual screening mammograms. As professionals in women’s health - and breast imaging in particular - we couldn’t be bigger fans of proactive behaviors. Given that 50% of women in our country aren’t getting this potentially life-saving exam is concerning - and frustrating!
Mammography, clinical breast exams and monthly self-exams are the way to fight breast cancer. Sounds straightforward, right?
So, why the apathy? There are a lot of theories and undoubtedly lots of reasons which influence the action and/or lack of action by women.
More than ever, women don’t have time to spare - between family and work, we’re pushed to our limits. There are, however, outpatient facilities that make it possible to walk-in without a doctor’s order for a screening mammogram and leave with results in-hand 20 minutes later. It can be done! Call ahead to find the best facility near you.
But if you have insurance, this should NOT be an issue. Annual screening mammograms are required to be covered by insurance plans under the ACA - without cost to you. There are also programs to assist the uninsured through nonprofits like the Komen Foundation. Money should not come between you and your best possible health!
There are lots of fears associated with that annual mammogram - but none should keep a woman from getting it done. There are fears of pain - who hasn’t heard the horror stories? But we promise you, with a caring technologist who knows your fears, we can get you through the brief seconds of compression and discomfort - promise! And then there are the bigger “what-if” fears. What if we find something? Remember, the vast majority of mammograms will have normal or benign, non-cancerous findings. And further, if we see you every year, it is more likely that your cancer will be found when it is small and treatable. Still fearful? Make that yearly appointment with a friend - life is always better with a friend at your side.
Armed with knowledge to conquer fear, money woes and time, you are better prepared to take care of yourself. Share with a friend or loved one - this might be the push they need to get their mammogram. While nearly half of women aren’t getting their annual screenings to ensure their best possible health, you don’t have to be a statistic. Let’s change the ratio!
Originally published 2/13/15 on mammographykc.com.