“The way I look at it, if a few seconds of discomfort and a little pain could save my life, I’m alright with that,” said Mary Nickles, KUTV 2News Morning Anchor, during a mammogram in 2011.
Seven years ago, Mary Nickles got a mammogram for a news story that would eventually save her life. Now, Chief Colleen Jacobs, Chief of Police for the West Valley City Police Department, is showing just how simple, yet essential it is to make time for an annual mammogram.
“It’s an important message, and that’s why I was willing to share it with the public,” says Chief Jacobs.
“We want to get the word out that women should begin annual screening mammography at the age of 40 and continue every year for as long as they are healthy,” says Dr. Brett Parkinson with Intermountain Medical Center Breast Care Center.
If you have a family history of breast cancer, recommended screening might start even sooner.
“My mother had breast cancer at age 40, so in talking with my health care providers, they recommended that I started my mammograms 5 years before she was diagnosed—so I started mine at 35,” says Chief Jacobs.
Despite her busy schedule, getting a mammogram is a yearly priority for Chief Jacobs. She says that just as she gets an annual blood check and sees the dentist twice a year, she also adds getting a mammogram to the list.
“It’s very important that people make the time for this because 1 in 8 women will ultimately develop breast cancer, and if she can take the time out of her busy schedule, then I think anybody can,” says Dr. Parkinson.
Getting a mammogram is a quick process—and while it might be slightly uncomfortable—it also saves lives.
“The procedure itself is uncomfortable in that it’s unfamiliar. As far as pain goes, I would rather have a mammogram any day than have a shot in my mouth at the dentist’s office,” says Chief Jacobs.
Chief Jacobs says it’s also important for loved ones to show support and encourage the women they care about to take the time and make an appointment to get screened.
“The best way for treatment for this particular disease is early detection and the best way to detect it, is to get the screenings done,” says Chief Jacobs.
If you have questions or concerns about mammograms, Dr. Parkinson addresses 8 Common Mammography Myths. In addition to annual screening mammography, Dr. Parkinson encourages women to do regular self-breast exams and if anything seems off—get checked out.