A recent survey conducted by the Society for Women’s Health Research, a nonprofit organization that studies diseases of women, showed that four out of five women agree that mammograms are important and a necessary part of well-health. Unfortunately, only 54 percent of those women actually got a mammogram.
The American Cancer Society guidelines recommend a screening mammogram at the age of 35 and yearly mammograms starting at age 40, and continuing for as long as the woman is in good health. Most women agree with those guidelines. However, in the last five years there has been a rapid drop off on the number of women seeking mammograms. It used to be that up to 75 percent of women had yearly mammograms. As a result, the United States had early detection with excellent treatment results.
The current numbers showing that only 54 percent of women are now getting mammograms is concerning. Women cited the high cost and lack of insurance as the most significant barrier to mammograms. They also reported the non-medical costs, such as travel, childcare and loss of time from work. They were concerned about the lack of referral as well as transportation. It is important for women to be aware that under the Affordable Care Act, all insurance plans pay for screening mammography without a co-pay or deductible.
This information has not been clearly given to women and publicized. Most women are unaware that they are entitled to a screening mammogram every year, and because of congressional regulations, a prescription from a physician is not needed for a mammogram. Individual sites or facilities may require a prescription, but they are not necessary for women to have a mammogram.
At the PINK Breast Center, we do not require a prescription for a screening mammogram. We believe that women should have screening mammograms and that we should lower the barriers to getting the proper screening and care that they deserve. Unfortunately, there is much confusion among women about what a mammogram is and when they should have one, and therefore more clarity is needed. Improved public health policy and education are necessary for women. At the PINK Breast Center, in order to encourage our patients to have their yearly mammograms, we send both a screening letter and call women on to encourage them to have their examinations.
We also believe strongly in the use of ultrasound examinations to help those patients who have dense breasts. Moreover, the majority of patients are given the mammographic results at the time of the examination in order to prevent the need for further testing at a later date, and to relive the stress and fear that women often feel as a result of an abnormal mammogram. The Pink Breast Center utilizes cutting edge technology, and our mammographic equipment uses the lowest dose of radiation in the United States and is the most comfortable available.
We have 2 NJ Women’s Diagnostic Centers for your convenience. For further information, call the PINK Breast Center in Paterson at 973-977-6662, or in Flemington at 908-284-2300.