Utah is among the five states with the lowest mammography screening rates, according to a new study released by the Utah Women and Leadership Project.
The study highlighted the demographics of women who do and don’t get mammogram screenings, the rates of breast cancer in Utah and a discussion on efforts to improve the number of mammography screenings in the state.
Dixie Sevison, Director of Women’s Services and Resources at BYU, said women may not get regular mammogram screenings because of a lack of support from family and friends. She added that regular screenings are incredibly important to women’s health.
“Going in for a yearly mammogram empowers me,” Sevison said. “I know I am being proactive in taking care of my health, and it also gives me a sense of peace knowing I’m OK. Also, when breast cancer is diagnosed early, the possibility of having a positive outcome is greater. To me, this makes going in for an annual mammogram screening a no-brainer.”
Darcy Simmons, a Utah resident and BYU graduate, considers regular mammogram screenings to be incredibly important. Simmons admitted she went four years without a screening; she said the gap began while serving a senior LDS mission in Nauvoo. Since returning home, Simmons has returned to her regular yearly screening schedule.
“They aren’t foolproof, but they do often save lives,” Simmons said. “Gives peace of mind, too.”
Sevison said Utah women can help improve the state’s mammogram statistics by making mammograms a matter of conversation.
“Women need to start talking to women about mammograms,” she said. “If you have daughters, granddaughters, sisters, friends, reach out to them. Tell them you love and care about them and you want them to have a mammogram screening. The billboards are great; however, it is the human factor that makes things happen.”