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'Pink Saturdays' offering free mammograms for uninsured
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - According to the American Cancer Society, more than 39,000 women will die from breast cancer this year. October is right around the corner, and that's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A program is offering West Michigan women free mammograms.
One in eight women in the U.S. women is diagnosed with breast cancer every year. "It is the second leading cause of death by cancer in the U.S. still, despite remarkable improvements in diagnosis and treatment," says Dr. Joseph Mirro of the West Michigan Cancer Center.
Mirro says there are ways to decrease the risk. They include exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing alcohol and tobacco use and self-breast exams.
"Women should know their breasts and identify any change, and any change should be taken to their physician for follow-up," Mirro says.
An annual mammogram starting at age 40 is also imperative. This October, women between the ages of 40 and 64 who are uninsured are able to get a free mammogram screening in eight southwest Michigan counties: Allegan, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren.
In the last seven years the Pink Saturdays program has provided more than 7,700 free mammograms and identified 30 women who had early-stage breast cancer. "Breast cancer caught early is very curable disease. The cure rates are 90 to 95 percent in the early stages, and late stage disease we, unfortunately, don't do as well. Five-year survival rates fall dramatically," Mirro says.
That's why Dr. Mirro is encouraging every woman who qualifies to take advantage of Pink Saturdays.
For a list of the health care organizations offering free mammograms, click here.