By Siouxanne R Mease, RN, BSN and Rifle Clinic Operations Manager

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It was founded in October of 1985 in a partnership between the American Cancer Society and AstraZeneca (a producer of several anti-breast cancer drugs). Their aim has always been to promote mammograms as the most effective weapon against breast cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control, breast cancer is considered a group of diseases affecting breast tissue found in both men and women. It is much more common in women. In the United States alone, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women. It is estimated that every year over 246,660 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 of those women will die.

Breast cancer is a familial disease, meaning your risk is higher if there is a history of breast cancer in your family. The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends “average-risk women who are 50-74 years old should have a screening mammogram every two years.” The American Cancer Society’s recommendations for mammograms in women are:

  1. Optional: beginning age 40
  2. Annually: ages 45-54 with high risk or family history
  3. Biennially: ages 55 and older
  4. Additional: MRIs may be indicated for some who have high risk or a strong family history

Screening mammograms are covered by most health insurance programs and generally come without any co-pays or out of pocket expense.

You are very important to Mountain Family Health Centers. Please check with your provider and ask for a referral for mammography screening today. If you do not have health insurance coverage, Mountain Family has access to funds from Susan G. Komen to cover your costs if you qualify.

Take a proactive stand for your health by getting regular mammograms, and don’t forget to wear pink in the month of October.