If youre a woman over 40 with a hectic lifestyle, you know how easy it can be to put off scheduling your mammogram, Ill do it next month, Im too busy with other responsibilities, Ive got to get the kids to soccer.
Or you may have other excuses, such as I cant afford it or I have to travel too far to get a mammogram.
Idaho by the numbers:
In 2010, Idaho Health and Welfare reported that Idaho has the lowest mammography rate in the United States for women over the age of 40. Only 63.8 percent of Idahos eligible women were screened, meaning more than 122,000 did not receive the recommended mammogram. That is nearly 12 percent below the national average. This is sad and disturbing news considering that in 2009, nearly 1,200 Idaho women were diagnosed with new stages of breast cancer, and one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
With these numbers, we cant afford any more excuses. Saint Alphonsus is leading the way in this effort. Not only does Saint Alphonsus have financial- assistance programs readily available to women who cannot afford mammograms, the health system has made it increasingly easy for women to get their mammograms.
Saint Alphonsus has invested in the latest state-of-the-art digital mammography technology to ensure women receive quick, accurate results through high-quality images. Not only do we have new Breast Care Centers based in or near each of the Medical Centers in Boise, Eagle, Nampa, Ontario and Baker City, but the Saint Alphonsus Mobile Mammography unit travels around our region keeping care close to home.
The Mobile Mammography Unit is an amazing sight to see. For more than 15 years, the mobile unit has traveled to more than 70 communities in Southeast Idaho and eastern Oregon, seeing close to 3,000 patients each year. And when the original mobile coach had put on too many miles, Saint Alphonsus purchased a new mobile mammography unit thanks to the generosity of national and local community supporters and the Saint Alphonsus Festival of Trees.
Many women in rural communities have benefited from mobile mammography coming to their town. For many of them, the Saint Alphonsus Mobile Mammography Unit provided life-saving screenings that detected their cancer in time.
For Janice Canterberry, the decision to have her screening was driven not only by the convenience of the Mobile Unit that makes regular visits to her community, but also by the connection of friendship. I knew the mobile mammo unit came up to Council, and I knew Anna who drives the Saint Alphonsus mobile unit To see Anna was a good excuse to go and get it done.
For others, the decision to schedule an annual mammogram is based on the knowledge that the American Cancer Association and medical professionals everywhere recommend that all women age 40 and above have annual screenings.
Something to consider: Although we know that having a family history places women at a higher risk of having breast cancer, we are also keenly aware that in many instances, family history is not always an indicator. Most (85 percent) of the women who get breast cancer do not have a family history. Additionally, breast-cancer incidence rates grow steadily with age. A 60-year-old womans risk of developing breast cancer is about 15 times higher than that of a 30-year-old woman. Being overweight or obese has also been found to increase breast cancer risk.
The facts speak for themselves, and you know that life-saving mammography is readily available to women throughout the Treasure Valley. So ladies, no more excuses: Schedule your mammogram today.
A screening mammogram does not require a physician referral.
To schedule your appointment or see when the mobile mammography coach is coming to your community, contact Saint Alphonsus at 208-367-8787.