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In Iowa, Fewer Women Getting Lifesaving Mammograms

October 2, 2008

Des Moines, IA – Nearly 2,000 Iowa women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and 400 are expected to die from it - but the numbers could be lowered if more women would get mammograms.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Theresa Allen, health promotions manager for the Iowa chapter of the American Cancer Society, is urging women over age 40 to turn around a disturbing trend.

"We have seen a drop in the mammography rate; a decline of 4.2 percent since 2005."

Allen suspects there are two reasons for the decline: a fear of the diagnosis, and the cost.

"A mammogram's cost can range between $100 to $150, but assistance is available for uninsured women through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program as well as the American Cancer Society."

Some women avoid screenings out of fear of discomfort but, the Cancer Society says, the tests are only slightly uncomfortable and relatively quick. Additionally, if cancer is detected in the early stages, it is almost entirely treatable.

For information on breast cancer and to access early detection programs, visit

Dick Layman/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - IA