Screenings encouraged for women

Breast cancer appointments vital

Special to the Altus Times

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women in the United States, which affects more than 230,000 women each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In recognition of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, GlobalHealth, an Oklahoma-based health maintenance organization, recommends women 40 and over get their annual mammogram to screen for breast cancer. This is a no cost preventive service typically covered by health insurance for women over 40.

“Early detection is the best possible way to fight breast cancer,” said John Wiscaver, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at GlobalHealth. “To detect breast cancer, we recommend women get a mammogram once a year since chances of getting breast cancer greatly increase if you are over the age of 40. A mammogram screening does not require a referral by a provider – simply ask your primary care physician for more information.”

GlobalHealth is offering the following tips for women to make their next mammogram appointment easier:

* Know the process. A mammogram is an x-ray that shows the inside structure of the breast. It can help to detect any changes in your breasts or breast cancer that might be too small to be felt by you or your provider. Finding breast cancer early means it can be treated early with a greater chance of success. Schedule an appointment. If you have never had a mammogram before and would like help, contact your primary care physician. They can give you a list of facilities and answer any questions you may have. When scheduling an appointment, keep in mind your menstrual cycle; the closer to your menstrual flow, the more painful the mammogram can be. If you have breast implants be sure to tell the mammogram facility when you call to make the appointment.

* Bring medical records. You should bring a list of your most recent mammograms, including any surgeries, treatments or breast biopsies you’ve had. If you’re getting a mammogram for the first time, make sure to complete any new patient paperwork before the appointment and bring your medical insurance card.

* Skip the deodorant. The day of your appointment, make sure to avoid using deodorant or talcum powder. They can contain small particles of aluminum, which can show up on the mammogram and interfere with the image. To get the best image there should be no movement so you should try to avoid skin lotions, which can cause unwanted movement during the exam.

* Dress for comfort. Since you will be asked to undress from the waist up, make sure you are wearing a shirt that can be easily taken off and put back on. If you can, skip the underwire bra for a day to feel more comfortable after the exam.

For more information contact Cynthia Townsend at 918-878-7335 or or visit

Breast cancer appointments vital

Special to the Altus Times

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