Thursday, November 8, 2012

Statewide Push for Mammograms Underway

(SALT LAKE CITY) – Utah has the 2nd lowest screening rates for breast cancer in the nation. The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Cancer Control Program (UCCP) hosted the first-ever Utah Mammography Action Summit to directly address why women are not getting screened.
The gathering brought stakeholders and advocates together to map out a plan to increase the numbers of Utah women who get regular mammograms.  The invitation-only event was held Thursday, November 8, at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center. One of the goals of the conference was to join efforts to overcome some of the barriers that keep women from getting screened.  These include time limitations, the cost of the screening, and not understanding the importance of mammograms.
“Breast cancer will affect 1 in every 8 women in this country,” said Lynne Nilson, UCCP Breast and Cervical Cancer Program Manager.  “By getting mammograms, breast cancer can be found early.  This summit has brought together a stronger, united team of professionals to uncover why women don’t get screened, and make a plan for changing their thinking about mammography,” Nilson added.
Partners included representatives from all major hospitals, local and state government, nonprofit organizations, and members of the media. The Summit will educate about plans of action through presentations from state and national experts and large and small group discussions.  The hope is that participants were empowered to take action steps to promote breast cancer screening in their own capacities. 
Outspoken cancer advocates, including KUTV2 news anchor Mary Nickles, were featured speakers. Nickels shared her experience of getting a mammogram for a feature story through KUTV2 News.  As a result, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and has shared her story publicly through KUTV and other venues. 
“We wanted community leaders to come together as one force to improve the number of women who receive this life saving screening.” Lynne said, “We want to see women in Utah like Mary Nickels taking steps to save their own lives,” she said.
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Sylinda Lee
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(W) 801-538-6829 (C) 435-760-0685