Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner made her promise. Popular B104.7 morning radio host Becky Palmer did, too. Evelyn Carter, community relations manager for Wegmans, also promised. Each of these women has her own personal reason for promising to get a mammogram, but together they’ve joined Crouse Hospital’s new community action initiative, “My Mammogram Promise,” to encourage other women to make their own promise over the next several weeks — and beyond.
For over a quarter century, October has been designated National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in an effort to share information about the disease, encourage women to take proactive steps to maintain breast health and to provide greater access to screening programs. Crouse, the area’s leading provider of women’s health services, has regularly promoted breast cancer awareness through various events and activities, including being the first area hospital to support the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
This year, the hospital is stepping up its efforts, providing not just education, but a meaningful method to engage women in taking charge of their health by promising — to themselves and those they love — to get a mammogram. According to Crouse President & CEO Paul Kronenberg, MD, “Awareness isn’t enough. Making this promise is the right first step.” Dr. Kronenberg’s role in the campaign is to encourage women to sign up for the routine screening exam, but also to encourage men to ask the women in their lives to promise as well.
A special website, MyMammogramPromise.com, has been launched to provide information about breast health, along with an immediate opportunity for women to pledge to schedule a mammogram. Crouse is partnering with ClearChannel radio on this initiative to reach as many women in the region as possible.
“Making a promise to get a mammogram empowers women to assume responsibility for their health and doing what’s necessary to maintain it,” says Stephen Montgomery, MD, medical
director of Crouse’s Breast Health Center, the only ACR-accredited breast imaging center of excellence in Syracuse. “This simple act today can lead to many years of getting an annual mammogram,” he advised, adding, “the fact is, mammograms do save lives.”
Preventive measures also play a key role in detecting problems early, and should start when women are young. Breast self-exam (BSE) is an option for women in their 20s, since women should get to know how their breasts normally look and feel in order to detect anything out of the ordinary. A clinical breast exam (CBE) by a certified healthcare provider is suggested every three years for women in this age group and in their 30s. American Cancer Society guidelines call for women 40 and older to have a CBE each year, along with a screening mammogram annually as long as they're in good health.
Most health insurance carriers cover routine screening mammograms, but woman 40 to 64 who are not insured or underinsured, may qualify for a low or low cost mammogram through the Cancer Services Program. Call 315/435-3653 for details.
The youngest spokesperson for Crouse’s “My Mammogram Promise” initiative is 14-year-old Samantha Waddington, whose grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in its early stages and, after treatment, is cancer-free. “What would mean the most,” says Samantha, “is if every woman promised to get a mammogram. I’m so glad my grandmother did.”
For more information visit mymammogrampromise.com or crouse.org/breast-health, or call 315/470-5880.