This October, Susan G. Komen Arkansas is working to better educate men and women about breast cancer prevention ahead of their More Than Pink Walk. Their goal is to bust myths about mammograms and break down barriers that make it hard for women to get them.
For Dr. Stacy Smith-Foley, Breast Imaging Specialist at the CARTI Breast Center, her life mission is shattering the statistics of Arkansans and breast cancer. She said that’s what gets her up in the morning.
“I truly believe deeply within my heart and the evidence proves that mammography saves lives,” she said.
She said Arkansas ranks 41 out of 50 out in participation of screening mammography and 6th for breast cancer mortality. She said half the battle of changing the statistics is fighting the myths about mammograms.
“Seventy-five percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history but a lot of people think that if they don’t have any family history that they don’t have risk of developing breast cancer,” she said.
Even for women who realize they are at risk, she said other myths have prevented participation.
“Some patients are concerned about radiation exposure but the amount of radiation exposure from mammograms is exceedingly low,” she said.
Kristen Trulock is someone that has listened to the recommendations. She’s been getting annual mammograms since she turned 40, the official recommendation by most doctors. After losing her cousin to breast cancer, she was inspired to become Development Director of Susan G. Komen Arkansas.
“It’s so important that we get the word out and that everyone gets their mammograms and does what they need to do,” said Trulock.
She said that one of the missions not only for Komen Arkansas but CARTI’s Breast Center is shattering some of the barriers preventing people from getting a mammogram in the first place.
CARTI’s Breast Center works to educate women on resources available to become better educated about breast cancer prevention. Komen also focuses on education and supports local programs. They are helping support programs that bring mammograms to women like the UAMS Mammovan.
“It helps cut down that barrier where women can come and get their mammogram,” she said.
She said Komen is also helping to break barriers for those who are uninsured.
“If they can’t afford mammograms, it goes to breast care and if breast care can’t cover it, Susan G. Komen helps,” she said.
Trulock says Komen can't keep do it all without your help and the community’s help.
“We need to make that bold goal to change that mortality rate by 50% by 2026 and we can’t do that without everyone’s participation and fundraising so that we can give back to the community,” she said.
One way to help is by attending the upcoming More Than Pink walk October 26th. You can find registration details here.
Komen Arkansas does not provide services directly, but with the funds raised at the Walk and other sources, grants money to hospitals, clinics and other entities that provide the mammograms and other services.