Mammograms critical for all women

October 19, 2008 7:13:01 AM PDT
When it comes to breast cancer, women with and without disabilities have the same health challenges. For women with physical disabilities finding health care providers that are accessible, understanding and patience requires a little more research.

Some women with physical disabilities have had some bad experiences, while others have had good experiences. The point is, you should never avoid going for your yearly mammograms.

The first time Ethel Giles went for her mammogram it was awful.

"The technician looked at me, and I said 'Hello.' I always speak when I enter a room and she says how long can I stand. And I wonder, you know ,this kinda bothered me, she didn't look at me she didn't see me she saw amputee," said Ethel.

Regardless of her bad experiences, Ethel knew she could not stop going for her yearly mammogram.

"Because of my mother losing her breast, it runs in the family," said Ethel.

When Peggy Noble went for her first mammogram, they found a lump on her left breast. She shared her story through her assistant.

"The next day I was admitted to Northwestern Hospital," said Peggy. "They did the surgery and I was home in two days. When I think about it, I realize how important that mammogram was, as it saved my life."

RIC's women health center has been working with mammogram technicians on how to accommodate women with physical disabilities.

"If they come across a women that has a variety of disabilities that maybe they've never encountered before, then they might be uncomfortable," said Judy Panko Reis.

Reis, the center's director, also says that many women with physical disabilities think their disability protects them from breast cancer so they don't bother getting mammograms.

"When in fact not only are they at risk for breast cancer, but they are when they are getting diagnosed the data is showing that they are getting diagnosed at later stages, and this makes it more difficult for them to get cured," said Reis.

There are a number of hospitals in the Chicago area that not only have accessible mammogram rooms but the staff that's trained to work with these patients.

Rush Breast Imaging Center at Rush Hospital is one of the accessible facilities. Sharon Brown Elms is the manager.

"I think they should be able to tell us what disability they have so that we can schedule them appropriately as far as time," said Sharon. "Obviously, these women aren't talking, so we have to take more time to the mammogram to get better pictures."

"I think when you're working in the field of mammography you should be able to service everyone whether you are disabled or walkie talkie," Sharon said.

"Ladies, don't put off having yearly mammograms," said Peggy.

Mammograms are a lifesaver and everyone women should go.

www.cancerscreening.illinois.gov
www.ric.org
www.rush.edu/rumc/ or call (312) 942-2027


Load Comments