Phoebe offering free mammograms to qualifying women in May

The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 297,790 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2023.
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 9:50 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany is offering free mammogram screenings throughout May for those that are uninsured.

According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2023. Phoebe Main is making sure patients get the screenings they need.

Recently, there has been a change to the mammogram guidelines. Health experts have now moved the age requirement from 50 to 40.

“We work with various other programs within the organization and in the community to make sure we can reach the underserved and the uninsured population,” Oncology Service Line Director of Comprehensive Services Ursula Mathis said.

The National Cancer Institute found that the average age most women get a mammogram is between 50 and 74.

Phoebe is providing the first 100 women who are uninsured with free mammograms. But there are qualifications. You must be 40 years old, uninsured and must have a referral.

“Breast cancer is the second leading cancer among women, so lung cancer being the first. We also know that screening and prevention work. We know that 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, so we know that it’s essential that you be screened,” said Mathis.

Health experts told WALB that they are doing what they can to be able to provide for those in the community.

“Phoebe invests a lot back into the community, and to be a part of something that is bigger than us. And to be a part of an organization that gets the needs and seeks the needs of the community, and willing to set apart the resources needed for the community,” Mathis said.

Experts say it’s important to do monthly self-breast exams, even if you’re under the age of 40.

“We do know that prevention in screening is the best remedy to early detection. Early detection saves lives and we do know that if we can detect things earlier, we have better prognosis and we can save lives,” Mathis said.

Statistics show that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s why it’s important to understand that it’s not just in older women, but younger women as well.

According to the Youth Survival Coalition, nearly 80% of young women diagnosed with breast cancer find their abnormality themselves.

“We’ve seen an increase in the number of ladies under 40 that are diagnosed with breast cancer and all diseases actually, and there are a number of contributing factors,” said Mathis.

Some of those factors include from the time a woman starts their menstruation, to adolescence. Experts recommend that you do routine breast exams yourself even if you are not 40.

Some women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer have caught the symptoms early due to family history.

“Science is real science grows every day, so medication in healthcare grows as science grows. So, there are so many treatments and modalities that are out there that people don’t have to die from diseases,” Mathis said.

That is why it’s important to have a primary care provider that can help prevent any abnormalities.

Phoebe officials say they will continue to provide free mammograms for 100 uninsured women annually so they can take precautions.

For more information on screening and to see if you qualify, click here.