Friday, October 12, 2007


It was just about a year ago that my friend was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. She went through surgeries, chemo, radiation, and a year of hell. She’s recovering from the last surgery but there’s no trace of the cancer.

This morning I had my annual mammogram. I don’t like them but I go. Because I know too many wonderful women who have had cancer and I know what a difference an early diagnosis can make.

I made my appointment yesterday. I had the mammogram today. That’s how it was last time, too. And I wonder then why my friend had to wait so many weeks to get hers, a year ago, after she found a large lump.

I know—different cities, different facilities. But it still seems a bitter irony.

Mind you, I still don’t know the cost, I just know that when the bill comes I'll be paying all of it. (I have the kind of insurance where I pay out of pocket a fairly large amount before the deductible kicks in.) I find myself wondering how many women don’t get mammograms because they can’t afford the cost and don’t have insurance that covers it or any insurance at all—either because they can’t afford it or because insurance companies are allowed to refuse to cover people they don’t want to cover.

Anyway, this is a reminder that if you're over 50 (there seems to be some controversy over the value and safety if you're younger) and you've been putting off getting a mammogram, please get one now. Your life and quality of life are worth the time and annoyance and expense.