Don't Be Elizabeth Edwards: Lamest Excuses for Avoiding Mammograms

I'll never forget when my childhood friend's breast cancer spread to her bones. Shauna was dying. And flashbacks of the carefree days of playing together when we were kids were shattered with the reality of her death. I spoke to Shauna just moments before she died. And vowed to take care of my health.

I get a mammogram every year and feel fortunate that I have health insurance to cover the screening. Many women don't have the coverage and can't afford to get the x ray. But what about the lame excuses from the rest of the women in this country 40 and older who HAVE health insurance but still don't get them?

I was shocked that a new report finds half of these are not getting annual mammograms. And frankly, I'm tired of all the lame excuses they continue to give, outlined below:


Lame excuse #1: "I don't have the time."

Yes, you do. It's a screening that could save your life. Hello? Make the time.

Lame excuse #2: "It's so uncomfortable, squeezing and compressing the girls like that. And it sometimes really hurts!"

Yes, it does. But only for a few seconds. You're a big girl -- you can handle it. The pain when your boob is squeezed is nothing compared to the pain and heartache of getting diagnosed when it's too late and the cancer has spread.

Lame excuse #3: "My last mammogram was negative so it's fine if I just skip a few years."

Wrong. This is what happened to Elizabeth Edwards, you know, who just died of breast cancer in her 50s!. She had not had a screening in four years when she found a lump.

Lame excuse #4: "Breast cancer doesn't run in my family so I'm in the clear."

No, you're not. It's true that genetics increase your risk of the disease. But most women - over 85 percent -- who develop breast cancer have no family history of the disease.

Lame excuse #5: "I'm confused about the controversial government guidelines that came out last year suggesting women should wait until they are 50 before they start getting mammograms and then get them just every other year."

I don't buy it. The American Cancer Society still recommends women begin yearly screenings when they're 40. That's the only guideline you need to pay attention to.


The only convincing I needed to get a mammogram was having to say goodbye to Shauna.

Image via mynbcf/Flickr

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