(KUTV) 1 in 8 American women will develop breast cancer during their life.
That is why doctors say it is important you get a yearly mammogram shortly after your 40th birthday.
But Utah has some of the lowest rates in the country of women getting screened for breast cancer.
“1 in 8 American women will ultimately develop breast cancer,” Dr. Brett Parkinson with Intermountain Medical Center Breast Center says.
The numbers don’t lie.
1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in their life.
And the American Cancer Society estimates more than 200,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed by the end of the calendar year.
“And the only way we can detect it early is through yearly mammograms beginning at age 40 for women who are at average risk,” Dr. Parkinson says.
Dr. Brett Parkinson knows the risks of women developing breast cancer in Utah.
Part of his job is to educate women about the importance of getting annual screenings.
“Screening mammography saves lives. In the last 20 years we have seen an overall reduction of breast cancer mortality of 30%,” Dr. Parkinson says.
But not everyone is getting the message.
Numbers show that Utah has some of the lowest rates of women getting screened for breast cancer.
“We really don't understand why it is. I’ve had my theories about this and I have thought that Utah women are busy. They are mothers. They are also in the workforce and they may not take time out for themselves. It also may be a matter of education. Perhaps we are not getting the word out,” Dr. Parkinson says.
Cost also may be a factor because many women don’t have insurance. So, they don’t get screened until it is too late.
“One of the saddest things I have seen in my career is women who have put off coming in because they couldn't afford it and by the time they got here they had a locally advanced cancer that could have been prevented if they had been screened earlier,” Dr. Parkinson says.
There is a program that will help women who may not have health insurance.
The Utah Cancer Action Network can help with the costs of cancer screenings. All you have to do is apply at http://www.ucan.cc/
(Copyright 2012 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)