- October is breast cancer awareness month.
One of its goals is to encourage women to get mammograms.
Dr. Taiwo Kanu with Ministry Medical Group said, "Worldwide breast cancer accounts for 23% of total cancer deaths. It's the leading cause of cancer deaths in women."
That means one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Dr. Kanu said, "It helps to get early detection and proper management of the cancer before it becomes advanced."
To help encourage women to get a yearly mammogram, Ministry Medical Group is offering free screenings for women 40 and over and who don't have health insurance.
The free screenings will be offered through the month of October, which is official Breast Cancer Awareness month.
But for some women, the fear of the exam causes them to skip getting checked.
Lead Mammographer Des Dahlquist said, "I know you've probably heard horror stories about this but if we can explain everything and really try and be in control. Are you ok, can you stand more compression?"
The machine images one breast at a time from two different angles…up and down and then side to side.
Dahlquist said "Fear of not knowing is there something here that does deter a lot. We wish we could let them know right away."
The radiologist reads the images that day.
If he feels more screening is necessary, he'll contact you. Otherwise you'll get a letter in the mail a few days later telling you the results are normal.
The free screenings are offered at Ministry Health Care facilities in Oneida, Lincoln and Forest counties. Mammograms are offered Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
"A mammogram is not as bad as people think a lot of people think it's very painful but and very uncomfortable but it actually saves lives," said Dr. Kanu.