Free mammogram Mondays in October
Women who lack the insurance to pay for mammograms have opportunities this month to obtain the potentially life-saving test.
Breast cancer takes the lives of more than 40,000 women throughout the nation each year. Men can also get breast cancer. Experts say women age 40 and older should be screened.
The Springfield hospitals – HSHS St. John’s and Memorial Medical Center – continue to offer free mammograms Mondays in October.
Memorial Health and HSHS have used donations through their foundations to help those without insurance or underinsured. "They loved coming, they cried, they were excited, just thankful that somebody cared about their health, so we never stopped doing it," said Jackie Thomas, breast coordinator at the hospital.
“The best prevention is early detection, and a mammography screening can help detect the early signs of breast cancer before it can be felt,” said Kristi Smith, mammography facilitator and breast care navigator at HSHS St. John’s Hospital.
“(Early detection) raises your percentage of being able to be cured from that or have a better outcome and longer live span," said Kristin Perucho, medical imaging college nurse navigator at Memorial added.
Memorial has diagnosed an average of three breast cancers for about forty appointments in the month. And, what if more treatment is needed?
"Once the radiologist detects something, or sees something, we have to call that patient back. From that point, the patient will also be covered," said Thomas.
There are risk factors, such as family history, which can increase one's chance to develop a breast cancer. "Everybody should be screened whether you have a history or not," Thomas added. "Three out of four breast cancers occurs without risk factors."
They stress “everybody can develop breast cancer" --- even men and young women.
“Anybody who feels a lump that's not normal for them should always contact their physician and can be tested early,” said Perucho.
Memorial will offer screenings will be offered from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Monday in October at Memorial Imaging in the Baylis Medical Building, 747 N. Rutledge St. Appointments are required; no walk-ins are available. To schedule an appointment, call 217-788-4042 or visit memorial.health/imaging and choose 3D Mammography from the list of services.
Free mammograms are also offered at the Memorial Health hospitals in Decatur, Jacksonville, Lincoln, and Taylorville.
HSHS St. John’s Hospital has free mammography screening dates each Monday in October. But free screenings can also be scheduled beyond the month of October. To schedule call 217-993-0480.