Healthy Living

Debunking the Most Common Excuses for Not Getting a Mammogram

Oct 10 2018
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Many make excuses for not getting a mammogram — here are the top excuses and arguments against them

Mammograms are important screening tests. They can help doctors find and start treating cancer earlier. Despite how valuable mammograms are, some people feel more comfortable skipping them — for many reasons. It’s normal to feel uncertain about having medical tests done. But, knowing how to overcome that uneasy feeling helps you feel more confident about making an appointment. Here are some common reasons why people don’t get mammograms and what you can do to calm your feelings of doubt.

The cost

If you don’t have health insurance, you might worry about paying for a mammogram. This test costs about $250 if you pay on your own. Fortunately, many organizations can provide low-cost or completely free mammograms if you meet a few requirements. In addition, every October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Hospitals and clinics often offer discounted mammograms throughout the month. This helps them promote the mission of preventing breast cancer.

If the cost of a mammogram keeps you from making an appointment, we can help. Call 877-918-5400 to discuss financial assistance before scheduling your mammogram.

Insurance coverage

It’s common for different types of health insurance plans to cover some health services but not others. That can create anxiety that your mammogram might not be covered. If you’re unsure whether your health insurance pays for mammograms, you can relax. It likely does. Because of the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act, health insurance plans have to cover certain preventive services. This is care you get that can help doctors find illnesses before you have any symptoms. Mammograms are preventive services, and they’re covered for women over age 40.

For extra peace of mind, you can call your health insurance company. Ask if your plan covers mammograms — and how often. While you’re on the phone, see if Mercy Health is an in-network provider for you. Then, you can walk in or make an appointment for Mercy Health Mobile Mammography. These traveling vans park in neighborhoods near you and provide health screening tests. Enjoy a convenient, covered mammogram while you’re out and about.

The amount of radiation

Many people hesitate to have mammograms done because the tests take X-ray photos. X-rays use radiation energy to create a picture of the inside of your body. You might have heard that radiation energy can cause cancer — but that’s in large doses. Mammograms, especially today’s digital versions, are very safe. You’re only exposed to radiation briefly during a mammogram. It’s even less radiation than you absorb naturally from the environment over the course of a few weeks.

A lack of time

Years ago, mammogram appointments took a long time. The machines that the doctors used to take the X-ray pictures weren’t very efficient. Many people still think that a mammogram appointment can use up a large chunk of their day. Fortunately, mammogram technology has improved over the years. This means the digital X-ray machines — and your appointment — are much quicker than before.

Are you waiting to make a mammogram appointment because of how long it’ll take? Don’t worry. From start to finish, most mammograms take less than 30 minutes. You can also visit a Mobile Mammography’s van if you’re short on time. They’re parked in convenient areas that you can get to between errands or on your lunch break. You’ll be done in about 15 minutes and ready to rule the day.

Fear

Are you afraid of the actual mammogram process or what the test might find? It’s very common to feel some anxiety about a mammogram. You’re not alone in worrying — and you won’t be alone in the process. If waiting for test results concerns you, it can help to know that 8 out of 10 of breast lumps aren’t cancerous. Even if the doctor finds something, that means there’s a good chance your mammogram will confirm you’re cancer-free.

You might also be afraid that mammograms are painful. The X-ray machine does need to compress your breasts to get clear pictures. Keep in mind that each picture only takes about 10 seconds. Any slight discomfort you feel doesn’t last long. Some people say that it feels like a blood pressure cuff. And, most people end up saying that having a mammogram is much easier than they expected.

Do these reasons sound familiar to you? We’re here to help you overcome what’s holding you back. Visit us at mercy.com to find a specialist near you and set up your mammogram. We’ll provide the support and care you need before, during and after this lifesaving test.

If you’re looking to find a mobile mammography van, visit our events section.


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