More Georgia Women Should Take Advantage of Breast Cancer Screening
Sometimes breast cancer arrives without a calling card. There might not be a lump or a pain or any physical sign that something is wrong.
Because of the improvements in treatments and technology, early signs of breast cancer can be identified without the presence of symptoms. We know that early detection of breast cancer does save lives.
For a variety of reasons, many women in Georgia don’t take advantage of this important screening tooI. So, as a father of two beautiful girls, a husband, a son and a son-in-law, I’m using this opportunity to unabashedly take advantage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month to send this reminder.
Nearly 23 percent of the women over 50 years old eligible for screening did not get it in the last two years. That’s very close to the national average of 22.2 percent; Georgia ranks 11th. We know this from publicly available Georgia data that we incorporate into our own State of the Health Care Report. Although Georgia is slightly better than the national average, our hope is to one day report much better numbers!
Just last month I had the honor of joining six key Georgia-based CEOs on the newly launched American Cancer Society Georgia CEOs Against Cancer committee. As the chairman of this committee, I’m working to recruit other Georgia-based CEOs throughout the state in an effort to increase and improve cancer prevention efforts through employer-based programs and initiatives.
According to the National Cancer Institute, detecting breast cancer early greatly increases patient survival rates and, if cancer is found before it spreads to the lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate can be greater than 98 percent – a very good number!
Based on recommendations of national medical organizations, such as the American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia encourages annual mammography screenings for women ages 40-49 or those with greater risks for developing breast cancer. For women ages 50-74, mammography screenings are recommended every other year.
Both men and women can take action to encourage screening by reminding colleagues, family and friends of the importance of mammography screenings and early detection and, if appropriate, to schedule their own mammography today.
Life can get hectic and it may seem tough to find the time to fit it all in, but you must remember, it’s not just for you – it’s for you and all of the loved ones around you.
Morgan Kendrick is the President of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia.