October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Wyoming Department of Health is trying to get more women in the cowboy state to have regular mammograms, meaning every one-to-two years.
Only about 67 percent of Wyoming women get mammograms, which is one of the lowest rates in the country. Carol Peterson with the Wyoming Department of Health says that’s probably partly because Wyoming is so rural.
“A lot of women don’t have mammogram facilities in their communities,” Peterson said. “It might require them to take a day off work to travel to get their mammogram. … We also do have facilities in our state that require a healthcare provider’s order for a mammogram. So sometimes we think that might be a barrier.”
Peterson says the Health Department is trying to find ways to make mammograms more accessible to women. GE also recently launched a mammography van that travels around the state to provide screening in remote areas.
Peterson says early detection of breast cancer increases the chances of survival, though she notes that the test isn’t perfect, because you can get false positives and false negatives.