This Friday is Mammogram Awareness Day, a day set aside to celebrate mammograms.
Mammograms are worth celebrating, because they help detect breast cancer in its earliest stages, when the chances of successful treatment are best. Women in their 60s who have mammograms are 33% less likely to die of breast cancer than those who do not. Younger women have a 14% lower chance of death from breast cancer if they get mammograms.
Overall, death from breast cancer has been reduced by about 40% over the past few decades thanks to mammograms.
Mammograms save lives
Mammograms can find cancers that are too small to be noticed during a manual breast exam. When breast cancer is found in early stages, it can be treated successfully and has a very high survival rate. Mammograms correctly identify cancer in about 87% of cases.
Mammograms have saved between 384,000 and 614,500 lives since 1990.
3D Mammograms, like those at The Breast Center, find more early cancers and are even better technology for saving lives.
One reason people sometimes hesitate to get a mammogram is fear of pain. Ask a friend who has had a mammogram, though, and you will probably hear that it is more uncomfortable than painful. Most women experience discomfort for a few minutes, but not a lot of pain. If it is painful, you can take Ibuprofen prior to the exam. Also, let the mammography tech know if you experience any pain. There are adjustments they can make that may help you be more comfortable. Mammography machines have improved significantly over the early years and a knowledgeable, compassionate mammogram tech can make all the difference in your mammogram experience.
Others put off their mammograms because of concerns over the cost. However, insurance plans cover the cost of a screening mammogram 100% under wellness benefits if you meet the criteria of your plan (most plans cover a baseline screening mammogram between age 35 and 40, and then cover mammograms yearly after age 40 through age 90 plus.) There is no cut-off age for Mammograms covered by Medicare. If you are at a higher risk of breast cancer, talk to your doctor to see if you need to start screening earlier. At The Breast Center, there are financial support programs available to cover mammograms for women without insurance.
The top reason women skip mammograms, according to surveys, is simply that their doctor didn’t alert them to the need for a mammogram. This included many women who don’t have a primary care physician. However, mammograms do not require a referral from your primary care doctor. We encourage you to take charge of your health. A woman can call and schedule a mammogram without a referral. However, the scheduler will ask you to provide the name of your primary doctor or gynecologist to send your mammogram report.
Remind your friends and family to schedule a mammogram as soon as they turn 40. Call a friend and ask them to get their mammogram with you, then go out to lunch to celebrate. A screening mammogram at The Breast Center takes less than 30 minutes and can be done during your lunch break. It’s a healthy habit and an essential part of self-care!
The Breast Center has screening locations in Fayetteville, Bentonville, Harrison, Springdale, and Bella Vista with appointments immediately available Monday through Friday as well as some Saturdays in October and November!