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. Continue reading