Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early yet some women are less likely than others to get these life-saving screenings.
The CMC Foundation recognized that too many Horry County residents were not getting screened for breast cancer. The CMC Mammography Initiative was created to address the barriers that keep women from receiving the screenings and care they need.
Why are some women less likely to get their mammograms?
There are multiple factors at play when it comes to women not receiving regular mammography screening. One of the most recent reasons we were faced with was the COVID-19 pandemic. Screening mammogram rates declined significantly as services and restrictions were greatly restricted and women were faced with their own fear of exposure.
As things have returned to a more normal climate, we’ve seen screening rates increase but the old disparities remain that continue to prevent 30% of women ages 40 and older from getting their annual screening mammograms.
Barriers to breast cancer screenings:
- Lack of health insurance
- Low income/worries about the cost
- Lack of access to local care, inconvenient to get to a mammography center, or lack of transportation
- Lack of a primary healthcare provider
- Lack of awareness of breast cancer risks and a misunderstanding of screening methods
- Concerns about radiation
- Lack of childcare
- Minimal sick leave or unable to miss work
- Fear of the unknown, bad news, or pain from the procedure
- Cultural and language differences
In a study of 44 U.S. states, African American Medicaid-insured women were significantly less likely to have a breast cancer screening, however, this issue is not only centered in African American communities. In 2018, just 66.7% of women aged 40 received a mammogram in the previous two years. Why is this so significant?
Because early detection saves lives
The breast cancer death rate among women peaked in 1989, and, as of 2019, has since declined by 42%. This is due to prevention efforts and making mammograms and other breast health services more accessible to everyone in every community. The decline in breast cancer death rates translates to approximately 431,800 fewer breast cancer deaths during this period than would have been expected in the absence of this progress.
Since the inception of the CMC Mammography Initiative, more than $700,000 dollars have been raised and every dollar is making an impact on the women of our community by covering the costs of cutting-edge 3D mammography screenings and the life-saving services they need in the event of a cancer diagnosis.
In 2019, the CMC Foundation took this commitment to the women of our community a step further and launched the CMC Mobile Mammography Center. The mobile unit travels throughout our community and to some of the more rural areas of Horry County for those who struggle with convenient access to care. The goal is to increase access to cutting-edge 3D Mammograms by bringing them directly to the people who otherwise would not be able to get them.
How you can help a friend or loved one get their mammogram
Time, cost, inconvenience, pain, and fear of a negative outcome are all reasons cited by studies as to why women avoid mammograms. If you know someone who needs a mammogram but won’t get it for whatever reason, there are some things you can do to help.
- Go together Schedule your own appointment with your mom, sister, or friend who needs a mammogram. The moral support could be the nudge they need to get there. A mammogram with a friend can also be a lot of fun.
- Offer them a ride If you know someone has difficulty coordinating transportation, offer to take them to an appointment. That ride could save their life.
- Share your own story If you’ve had cancer or your own scare, don’t hesitate to pull on their heartstrings. Let them know that you don’t want to see them go through the same ordeal that you did.
- Send them the schedule of the CMC Mobile Mammography Center We know women are busy. It can be hard to break away from our obligations, kids, and work. If you know a woman that has this issue, let them know when our mobile center will be near them next. The screening process only takes about 15 minutes and they can hop on our bus in a variety of places across Horry County. It also stops at CMC Primary Care locations in Little River, Hwy 90, Aynor, Socastee, Carolina Forest, and downtown Conway. An appointment isn’t required at these locations, but if they need a set time, they can get one by calling 843-234-6891.
- Tell them about the CMC Foundation and the Beast Chance Network If the reason they are not getting screened is financial or insurance-related, let them know there is help available. Learn more about these services below.
How the CMC Foundation can help
The CMC Foundation covers the costs of screening mammograms and provides financial assistance for other mammography services provided at our Imaging Center and on the CMC Mobile Mammography Center for people who qualify. They are able to do this through the generosity of multiple community partners and individual donors who give to the CMC Mammography Initiative.
If you or a loved one is in need of an annual screening mammogram or other breast cancer follow-up care, find out if assistance is available to you through the CMC Foundation. You may have the option to access our program if you are uninsured or under-insured and also do not qualify for the Best Chance Network program
To see if you qualify, please call 843-347-8170.