According to Planned Parenthood’s information on screening, breast cancer is the second “most common type of cancer in American women. About 225,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in the U.S. and 40,000 women will die from it.”
On August 18, free mammograms will be available in Phoenix.
Among the best screening tools for breast cancer is the mammogram, or X-ray of the breast. During a mammogram, the breast tissue is compressed between two plates and X-rayed. Those images are later checked for abnormalities. While this may not sound like fun, the entire procedure for a mammogram takes only about 20 minutes — and the actual compression, only a few seconds. Moreover, regular screening is a person’s best chance for early diagnosis.
Both the American Cancer Society and Planned Parenthood recommend annual mammograms starting at age 40. However, not everyone receives the recommended screenings, for various reasons. Some people may not know they fit the criteria for screening or may be confused by different organizations’ conflicting recommendations. (For instance, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that annual screenings begin at age 50 rather than 40.) Others may find the procedure physically or emotionally uncomfortable. Still others, particularly in times of economic distress, may lack access to providers or the means to pay for such screenings.
That last part, particularly, is where Planned Parenthood can help. On August 18, Planned Parenthood Arizona is hosting a free mobile mammography clinic and community fair at its Central Phoenix Health Center. Sponsored by a grant from the Phoenix affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Saturday clinic aims to promote early screening and detection, when health concerns — if present — are most likely to be treatable.
In order to qualify for a free mammogram, prospective patients must meet the following requirements:
- must be 40 years or older;
- must be uninsured or underinsured;
- have not had a mammogram in the last year;
- not currently breastfeeding or pregnant;
- not eligible for AHCCCS or the Arizona Department of Health Services Well-Woman Health Check program.
The clinic will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 18, at Planned Parenthood’s Central Phoenix Health Center. Appointments are recommended. A limited number of walk-in slots will also be available. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, you can call 602-277-PLAN (7526).
If you’re unable to attend the clinic but are interested in learning what types of breast cancer screening would be appropriate for you, you can contact your nearest Planned Parenthood health center to discuss your options.