WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) – Mammograms can be a life-saving screening. For those without insurance, the cost can be prohibitive.
MercyOne of northeast Iowa will be offering free mammograms to women 40 and older who have cost-barriers to receiving a yearly mammogram. The hospital has partnered with the Black Hawk County Health Department’s Care for Yourself program, MercyOne Waterloo Foundation and Check the Girls Foundation to make the “Free Mammo Nights” financially possible.
“If a woman has to decide whether to take care of her family, feed her family or paying for a screening, I think most women are going to choose to take care of her family,” said Kelly Flaucher, supervisor of Breast Care Services at MercyOne.
Breast cancer can be deadly if caught to late. That can easily happened if cost becomes a factor in getting a yearly mammogram. A screening can easily cost upwards of $200 out-of-pocket.
Flaucher said that’s why they’re doing these screenings for free.
“Every woman needs to understand how important it is to have a mammogram and I don’t want costs to be a barrier to that,” she said.
According to the CDC, there were nearly a quarter million new cases in 2016 and nearly 42,000 deaths from breast cancer.
The Midwest has a fairly high rate of breast cancer cases, with Illinois leading the pack. In Iowa, 130 out of every 100,000 women will develop breast cancer.
Flaucher said, nowadays, mammograms are fast at just a few minutes and the results can be had the next day.
“There have been plenty of studies that have shown yearly mammography does, indeed, reduce the death rate. It also reduces the amount of treatment a woman might need for a breast cancer if we can find it at its earlier stages,” Flaucher said.
While women over 40 are recommended to get a yearly mammogram, those in a high-risk category may have to get them younger and more often.
Appointments are required for the free mammograms since there are a limited number of openings available. People should call 319-292-2225 to find out more and to schedule.
Transportation can be provided upon request.