Mammogram blitz aims for women over 50
Mammogram and a movie anyone?
Or how about a mammogram and a meal? Cocktails? Trip to the mall?
However you enjoy spending time with your galpals, come Oct. 16 the Mississauga Halton Central West Regional Cancer Program is hosting a Mammothon, urging at least 500 women to take a moment and get a mammogram.
The one-day breast-screening blitz invites all women, age 50 to 74 who haven’t had a mammogram in the past two years, to book an appointment by calling 905-813-4220.
The Mammothon will help the regional cancer program reach its goal of screening at least 70 per cent of women age 50-74 in Mississauga and Halton. In 2012-13, the most recent data available, nearly 58 per cent of women in that age category got one. That’s below the provincial average of 59 per cent.
Cathy Bowles of Burlington dutifully had a mammogram at age 50 and all was fine. She remembers getting a requisition from her doctor for another one two years later, in 2013, but the busy married mom of two sons set it aside and never did get a second mammogram.
In spring 2014, Cathy noticed her breasts would swell during her periods and afterwards they felt hard. A trip to the doctor confirmed breast cancer. Stage 2. Her prognosis had a 97 per cent survival rate for five years. As an accountant, it was a good number to hear. However, breast cancer caught in Stage 1 has a 100 per cent prognosis of survival for five years.
“If I hadn’t missed my mammogram in 2013 maybe my cancer would have been caught in Stage 1,” said Cathy.
That is exactly the message Dr. Alexandra Ginty, Regional Primary Care Lead for Cancer Care, wants women to understand.
“Mammograms will help improve patient outcomes,” said Dr. Ginty who faced her own battle with breast cancer at age 47.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian women, affecting one in nine over a lifetime.
“For a percentage of people, early detection will make a difference in preventing the spread of cancer and improving the quality and quantity of life,” said Dr. Ginty. She also urges women to take their breast cancer IQ (www.mycancerIQ.ca), which assesses your risk and includes an action plan.
In some cases cultural bias has prevented the region from reaching its screening goals of 70 per cent, added Dr. Ginty. For example, among the south Asian population the region has one of the lowest screening rates in the province, said Dr. Ginty.
Now that Cathy Bowles is on the other side of her breast cancer ordeal she is pushing her friends to go and get a mammogram.
The Oct. 16th Mammothon is one way to get that date in your head and just go, she added.
“A mastectomy followed by months of chemo and radiation is far worse than three minutes of getting your boobs squished in a machine during a mammogram,” said Cathy.
For more information about the Oct. 16 Mammothon, log on to www.mammothon.ca.