PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — UnityPoint Health and Tazewell County Health Department are partnering up to offer free mammograms on Friday, which is also National Mammography Day.
Women ages 40-64 without insurance can drop by three UnityPoint locations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday for a free mammogram. The non-invasive screening is especially useful for detecting deep tumors in breast tissue that cannot be felt.
“Some women don’t get mammograms because they aren’t able to afford it or aren’t able to afford insurance. So we really want to offer that to everyone,” said Dr. Christine Wigginton, a diagnostic radiologist at UnityPoint Health.
Wigginton said it’s important to diagnose cancer at the earliest stage possible for the best outcome.
“So mammograms are very important because they are the test that is the most useful to detect cancers when they’re very small and easy to treat. So that means smaller surgeries, less invasive treatment and also a greater chance of survival,” she said.
Sara Sparkman, communications manager at Tazewell County Health Department, said many women did not get mammograms during the pandemic.
“We hope that we have women who are either have never had their screening mammogram or have waited a couple of years because of COVID to get in for their screening mammograms,” she said.
Wigginton said there was a 60% decrease in mammograms nationwide in 2020 compared with 2018.
Breast cancer accounts for one-third of cancers in women, according to the American Cancer Society. The organization estimates 287,850 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women this year.