Can we talk openly and honestly, woman to woman? Most health experts agree that getting a mammogram is the best way to detect early breast cancer. Yet some women bypass this lifesaving test because of common online rumors or personal anecdotes.
If you are age 40 or older and haven’t been tested in the last two years, read on. I’ll share with you what the experts say are the top reasons women don’t get tested, and why they should.
1. Mammograms hurt.
I’ve never met a woman who is excited to get a mammogram, though they may exist. From personal experience I can say there’s nothing thrilling about having your boobs compressed between two sheets of glass. If the thought of this is putting you off, just remember, breast cancer is more painful than a mammogram!
The key here is to RELAX. Tell your technician if you are anxious and she will help to minimize any discomfort. It’s also helpful to schedule a mammogram right after your period when breasts are less sensitive. Take a pain reliever an hour before the mammogram appointment.
2. I can’t afford a mammogram.
Good news. If you have private or health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, coverage of mammograms for breast cancer screening is mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The Act provides that mammograms be performed without a co-pay or deductible in plans that started after August 1, 2012.
However coverage varies from state to state. Utah, for instance, is the only state without a law ensuring that private health plans cover or offer coverage for screening mammograms. Find details about your state here.
Also, some health plans that were in place before the ACA law was passed may not guarantee coverage. You can find out the date your insurance plan started, and what’s covered, by contacting your health insurance plan administrator.
3. No one in my family has ever had breast cancer, so I won’t either.