In March of 2013, my wife, Becky Baker, found a very small lump in her left breast. Very minute, but she knew what this meant. She knew she needed to head to an oncologist immediately. But she didn't go.
By December of 2013, the pain in hor back was so intense she ended up in an emergency room at Wake Forest Baptist Hosptal. After an examination and a few scans, she was transferred to the Cancer Ward of the hospital.
In nine months, that minute lump in her breast had grown, traveled and metastacized. She now had stage IV breast cancer and was given three months to live.
The obvious question is, 'Why'? Why did she wait so long?
I have learned, from talking to many, many women, that there is an unexplainable fear in the hearts and souls of women that keeps them from obtaining proper testing for breast cancer in their bodies and a 2014 study seems to confirm this fact.
It revealed that more than half of US women do not get yearly mammograms or any other breast cancer testing.
The survey was conducted by the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR), a non-profit organization that studies disease in women, and it revealed that although four out of five women agree mammograms are important, only 54 percent actually get them.
Guidelines from the American Cancer Society recommend yearly mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health. I have come to believe that women should start this process in their late 20s, not waiting until their fortieth birthday.
The study also revealed that the reason so many women forgo scheduling a mammogram, is the high cost, as well as lack of insurance. Women also reported that they must consider non‐medical costs, including travel, time off work, and childcare. The survey was conducted among 3,501 women in September 2014, to better understand women's habits and perceptions around breast cancer screening.
No woman should ever miss an annual screening because they are concerned about cost. That’s why The Becky Baker Foundation is providing tens of thousands of dollars for free mammograms.
But this is still not enough. There are far too many women who can afford screening and never go. Many have never had screening of any type. One reason for this is health illiteracy. They don’t understand that the process today is fast, simple and not invasive. In fact, it only takes about 10 minutes at one of the Mobile Mammography Units. Don’t delay your mammogram. What may only be a “bump in the road” may turn out to be the end of the road for you if you delay. Schedule today. RB