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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is earning a dubious distinction when it comes to screening for certain types of cancer. Among women over 40 with insurance, Utah is dead last country for breast cancer screening.
Dr. Brett Parkinson, director of Intermountain Medical Center's Breast Care Center, says four women in 1,000 have breast cancer right now and don't know it. That number becomes even more sobering when you think about the state's female population, currently just under 1.4 million according to the most recent census numbers.
Dr. Brett Parkinson, director of Intermountain Medical Center's Breast Care Center, says four women in 1,000 have breast cancer right now and don't know it.
"Imagine the number of women that actually have breast cancer now without knowing it, and the only way to know is to have a screening mammogram," Parkinson said. "They'll eventually find out, and it's better that they find out when it's small."
He thinks what may be happening is a function of Utah's larger-than-average family size, which encourages supermoms to try to do it all.
"Many women that we have had come through the breast center say that they have been distracted by caring for others, and so they will often neglect their own healthcare," Parkinson said. "Our campaign is to get women to look out for themselves first."
The American Cancer Society recommends all women in good health over the age of 40 get yearly mammograms.
Breast cancer survivors and their families are invited to breakfast at the Breast Care Center on Friday morning, in a kick-off to the traditional breast cancer awareness month of October.
Date: Friday, Sept. 30
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Location: Breast Care Center, Intermountain Medical Center, 5121 Cottonwood St., Murray, UT
Contact for reservations: 801-507-3800
The families who attend the breakfast will hear from Deseret Book CEO Sheri Dew, who survived her bout with breast cancer nearly six years ago. They will also hear from breast care experts about advances in screening and detection.
In addition, members of the Murray High School football team will be at the event, sporting pink jerseys to raise awareness for breast cancer and support the survivors. They plan to play their game later that night still wearing their pink jerseys.
According to the American Cancer Society, this year nearly 200,000 women, 1,000 of them in Utah, will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
To reserve a seat for "A Tribute to Breast Cancer Survivors: Breakfast with Sheri Dew," call 801-507-3800.