(KUTV) Utah is significantly below the national average when it comes to women getting screened for breast cancer. In the last two years, only 64.5% of Utah women over the age of 40 have gotten a mammogram. This is scary because screening is what could end up saving your life.
Linda Warner’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 40’s and died from the disease at age 50.
“She made me promise, literally on her death bed, that I would take care of myself, get mammograms, do whatever it took,” says Linda.
Women of average risk should begin annual screening mammography at the age of 40 and have a mammogram every year for as long as they are healthy. If a first degree relative like a mom or sister has been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may want to start screening earlier.
“It’s a 20-minute procedure. We take two mammographic views or x-rays of each breast. They’re usually interpreted the next day and then the woman gets her results immediately online,” says Dr. Brett Parkinson with the Intermountain Medical Center Breast Care Center.
Linda kept her promise to her mom, and it’s good she did. After more than 30 annual mammograms, her 2016 screening revealed a small tumor.
“I am so grateful that we detected it early,” says Linda.
Early detection is key in both surviving breast cancer as well as reducing the amount of treatment. For Linda, this mean no chemotherapy. All she ended up having was a lumpectomy and radiation.
Linda hopes her story will encourage all women due for a mammogram to make their appointment today.
“Go get that mammogram! If it’s negative, it gives you peace of mind. If it’s positive, the earlier you catch it the better,” says Linda.
“There’s nothing right now that we know of that can prevent breast cancer, but there’s a lot we can do to prevent death from breast cancer,” says Dr. Parkinson.
If the cost of a mammogram is holding you back, there are many places that offer FREE cancer screenings to Utah women who qualify. Visit cancerutah.org for more information.