What are YOUR mammotives?

Welcome to Mammotives.org. We hope you’ll join this discussion about why Iowa women make the decisions they do to get – or not get – recommended mammograms. Please feel free to comment anonymously and engage each other in discussion. Remember, as Iowa women, we’re all in this together. The polite, honest, and open dialogue here will benefit the future health of our sisters, mothers, daughters, and the other important women in our lives. What are YOUR mammotives?


23 thoughts on “What are YOUR mammotives?

  1. I am 42 yrs old and moved from a large metropolitan area of Texas to small, rather isolated town in Iowa last summer (Aug 2011) and never had a mammogram before in my life. I was convinced by my nurse practitioner to get one. I just had one last Wednesday and OUCH! I have large breasts and despite not being unusually tender on a normal day, that squishing made them hurt for a couple of days.
    That being said – I think maybe women in Iowa don’t get their regular mammograms because it’s too complicated. Much of Iowa is rural or in small towns. I think a mobile mammogram unit would do wonders for this state. Even though I am in a small town, it’s considered one of the biggest in the area and has a hospital and a women’s center with mammogram equipment, but many of Iowa women live in small communities with little or no specialized women’s health care.
    So, my advice is to MOBILIZE THE MAMMOS for Iowa!

  2. I found a lump in one breast when I was 40, which turned out to be benign. So I had yearly mammograms from 1992 to 2008, which was the last year I was able to schedule an appointment for a physical while I still had insurance. Since I don’t have regular employment, I generally do not seek medical treatment at all, because I do not want to be saddled with a bunch of bills I can’t pay. My philosophy is, if it were necessary, it would be available, and since it is not available, it must not be necessary.

    • Hi Charlotte,

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. You’re not alone – insurance is an issue for many women seeking health care, including mammograms. Yet, the American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms (Getting them regularly is so important!) for most women age 40 and older because mammograms have been shown to reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer, and there are some programs that can help you get important screenings. Check out the Mammotives Breast Cancer Resources page for information about free and low-cost breast cancer screening resources in Iowa:


      We hope this is helpful! Thank you again for joining the discussion!

  3. You’d think after losing one of my sisters to breast cancer, I would be more vigilant with self-exams, but I’m not. So what works for me is to schedule my mammogram and my annual physical six months apart. My family doc always does a breast exam, so this way I have a professional check every six months! Then I do my best to check myself the other months.

  4. Why Not do whatever you can to make sure that all is well and get early treatment if not? I’m closer to 40 then 50. I have one as often as my insurance allows, It was yearly but now every 2 years unless concerns. For the uninsured or people with high deductibles there is assistance programs to help. Just ask your health care provider. In Black Hawk County and surrounding areas there is the “Care for Yourself Program”. It’s never my favorite day of the year but neither is cleaning my closet etc. But it sure is great wheny our done. They take good care of you and the environment is always women friendly.

  5. i had gotten yearly mammograms and sometimes had to have extra views because of dense breast tissue. Then at age 45 I was diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer. The lump could not be felt and was only found on my “routine mammogram”. Because of this mammogram it was found early and today I am 12 years cancer free. After further research into my family history, I had a rather extensive family history of breast cancer. In fact my radiologist oncologist said it was a good thing I had a boy. Please ladies get your mammogram as it may save your life.

    • Barb, so glad to hear you have been cancer-free for 12 years! You’re a great example of how mammograms can save lives!

      You mention that you have an extensive family history of breast cancer, and that you have a son. Many people don’t realize that breast cancer can affect men. Check out this information from the American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancerinMen/index.

      Also, as science advances, we’re learning more and more about the link between certain genetic mutations, which can be passed down in families, and cancer risk. Here’s some interesting information from the National Cancer Institute about how harmful mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes can increase risk of not only breast cancer, but of other cancers as well, in both women and men: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA#a2

  6. At age 39 I found a lump and had a mammogram. They considered this my “baseline”. After more mammograms and tests, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. I am now 49 am cancer free. Without going in for the initial mammogram, I would not be here today. I NEVER EVER skip my annual mammogram. My cancer was diagnosed very early and I can attest to the fact you are never to young to young to have a mammogram. Do it now, live tomorrow. 🙂

  7. I used to perform mammography for about 15 years. And my favorite part of that job was doing baseline mammograms on ladies. They would always come in very nervous because they had heard all the “horror stories” about getting squished. And I would be very calm and as gentle as possible to help them through it. And without fail, every time when the exam was over the women would always say to me “that wasn’t bad at all”. It made my day every time!

    Get your mammogram – it may save your life! Now that I’m 40, I’ve had a couple myself. No big deal at all. The Technologist are all professionals and they do great work every day.

    • I used to get mammograms religiously as a younger woman, but since Iowacare (Iowa program for the uninsured) I have to travel 240 miles to Iowa City for any medical treatment unless I foot the entire bill out of pocket. As an uninsured woman, I have no private insurance and a limited income from work. Maybe better access would help me make the visit to the machine more often. As it is, I haven’t seen a doctor in the past 1.5 years, in spite of multiple health concerns. I am unable to drive myself there, and the cost of motel rooms when using U of I transport is also prohibitive. Any thoughts on how to do it?

      • Hi Ginger,

        Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m going to direct you to our Breast Cancer Resources page, which has information about breast cancer screening assistance programs in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Public Health’s “Care for Yourself” program is available statewide, and there are several other organizations across Iowa that offer free or low-cost mammograms. Check it all out here: https://mammotives.wordpress.com/state-and-national-breast-cancer-resources/

        I would check first with the screening program or organization to see if they can direct you to affordable temporary lodging. The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics offers low-cost overnight rooms for patients and their families: http://www.uihealthcare.org/OvernightGuests/. You can also try the University of Iowa’s Social, Patient and Family Services at 319-356-2207, or Mercy Hospital Social Workers at 319-339-3688. And finally, Shelter House Iowa City offers free temporary housing to those in need: http://www.shelterhouseiowa.org/seeking-help/overview-of-services.aspx

        I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me at megan-lessard@uiowa.edu. My name is Megan (as you can probably tell from the email address :). I hope you can get the care you need.

        Have a good weekend!

  8. I have been nursing a baby (not the same one!) to some degree for about 12 yrs and there is no reliable screening while nursing. I refuse to wean a child just to get a mammogram. So at 43 I keep hoping for a reliable screening method to be developed while I’m still nursing my child. When I asked my dr she said she knew of nothing locally. Too bad.

  9. I was divorced in 1998 at 46 years of age. I had a monogram under my insurance while I was still married. There were no problems. I had to find health insurance on the open market after my divorce. It was expensive, nothing was included for wellness checks and there was a very high deductible. Finally in 2001 I had to drop the insurance completely. In 2004 a friend who went for a mamogram saw an information sheet for free mamograms through a program called “Healthy Linn Women”. Knowing that I did not have insurance she encouraged me to check into this program. I did. I scheduled a mamogram.
    The mamogram showed a possible problem and a biopsy was suggested. I scheduled the biopsy knowing that I would have to pay for it if nothing was found and that “Healthy Linn Women” would help with the cost if cancer was found. I had no family history of breast cancer and I had already had 2 mamograms (one at 40 years old and one a few years later). I seriously thought about just leaving it at that. I finally decided to have the biopsy. Professionals and friends alike said that it was probably nothing. Following the biopsy I had an appointment to meet with the surgeon. I casually went to the appointment by myself, only to hear the stunning news that I had breast cancer. It was in the early stages. I had surgery, radiation and chemotherapy starting in November of 2004. I have done so well and am now 7 years out.
    I feel I owe my life to a good friend and a good program. I was not burdened with a financial disaster and I am healthy. What amazes me is the reaction I get when I encourage others to have a mamogram. Too many women (with & without insurance) seem to still take this disease too lightly and to assume that it won’t happen to them.

    • Polly, it’s so great to hear that you found such a wonderful resource and support when you needed it. Be sure to check out our lastest post about health insurance. It seems to be on a lot of women’s minds.

  10. I have had mammograms on a yearly basis since I was 35. In my early forties I had an area in my left breast that showed some calicification. As a result of this finding I had mammograms every six months on my left breast for two years to follow-up on this issue. I have never missed getting a yearly mammogram and I will continue to do so. Early detection is the best protection.

  11. I think this web site is a very good idea. It would help the user if there were instructions to use the link on the reply botton to leave a comment. It is rather confusing what to do after entering the site. One thing I would like to see is some information on what to do if you are a woman who has had breast cancer and also has daughters. I know there are genetic tests for the mother and also mammogram recommendations for the age to start when your mother has had cancer.

  12. First of all, I think this website is a great idea!! I want to make one suggestion based on something that happened to me. I have been getting mammograms yearly since I was 45 years old. However, my insurance company only pays for mammograms every other year up to the age of 50 (of course I didn’t know this until I filed a claim). So, when I got my annual mammogram at age 46 my insurance company denied it. I appealed, fought with BCBS staff and discussed with an administrative law judge that yearly mammograms are recommended starting at 45 years of age. It took nearly a year but, I won the appeal. I provided the insurance company, and their representatives, sites, recommendations, a letter from ph OB GYN etc. To make a long story short, I think women should be told this could be a problem. Give them the tools that they can use if a battle with their insurance company arises. Know your facts and ALWAYS advocate for yourself!

  13. I just had my first mammogram at age 35. With a history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in the family, I understand all to well that early detection results in a better outcome. I don’t want to ignore any opportunity to be proactive when it comes to my overall health.

  14. I want to live a long, happy life, so I’ve had yearly memmograms since turning 40 (I’m nearly 50). I know if breast cancer is detected early, it’s extremely treatable.

What are YOUR mammotives?

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