Those statistics show that 73.8% of women over 50 in Eau Claire County reported having a mammogram in the past two years. The statewide average for this routine breast cancer screening was 80.8%.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the United States. It will develop in about one in eight women during their lifetime, according to a Health Department press release.
The department noted that, today, we know much more about this disease, including the importance of regular breast cancer screenings to catch the disease early and get women into treatment sooner. Most breast cancers are found in women who are at least 50 years old.
Among the main factors influencing the risk of breast cancer are gender, age, family history and inherited genetic changes. Detecting it early can improve the chances that breast cancer can be treated successfully and with more treatment options, less extensive surgery and, ultimately, better treatment outcomes.
Breast cancer screening guidelines vary based on a woman’s age and risk factors for breast cancer. An appropriate individual screening plan can be developed in consultation with a woman’s personal physician, the press release noted.
While many women now have access to breast cancer screenings through private health insurance, the Health Insurance Marketplace or BadgerCare Plus, there will continue to be women without such coverage, according to the Health Department.
The Wisconsin Well Woman Program (WWWP) is another option for these women, according to Jackie Krumenauer, the Health Department’s WWWP coordinator. The program provides breast and cervical cancer screenings statewide to women from 45 through 64 with little or no health insurance coverage, whose family income is no more than 250% of the federal poverty level and who meet the program’s other eligibility guidelines.
“We want to see access to preventive screening available to all,” Krumenauer said. “This program helps ensure that more women have access to this important screening.”
Information about the WWWP program and the eligibility requirements is available by contacting Krumenauer at 715-839-4718 or by visiting the Eau Claire County WWWP website.
For additional information about breast cancer, visit the American Cancer Society at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer.html.