County Falls Behind in Mammograms

Eau Claire County trails state in share of women who get this vital cancer screening

Eau Claire City-County Health Department

Mammograms save lives. Yet many women in the Chippewa Valley are not getting into the clinic for this routine breast cancer screening. Today we know much more about this disease than we used to – including the importance of regular breast cancer screenings to catch the disease early and get women into treatment sooner. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.

Breast cancer will develop in about one in eight women during their lifetime. The main factors that influence your risk of breast cancer include sex, age (most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years of age or older), family history, and inherited genetic changes.

In Eau Claire County, data shows that the percent of women age 50-plus who report having a mammogram in the past two years was lower than the share of women statewide who had mammograms (73.8 percent in Eau Claire County vs. 80.8 percent in Wisconsin as a whole). Breast examinations and mammograms increase the chances breast cancer will be diagnosed early. Finding breast cancer early can improve the chances that breast cancer can be treated successfully and with more treatment options, less extensive surgery, and ultimately, better treatment outcomes.

While many women now have access to breast cancer screenings through private health insurance, the Health Insurance Marketplace, or BadgerCare Plus, there will continue to be women without health insurance. The Wisconsin Well Woman Program is another option for these women. WWWP provides breast and cervical cancer screenings statewide to eligible women aged 45 through 64. “We want to see access to preventive screening available to all. This program helps ensure that more women have access to this important screening,” says Jackie Krumenauer, Wisconsin Well Women Program Coordinator. The Eau Claire City-County Health Department provides coordination of WWWP for Eau Claire and seven surrounding counties: Chippewa, Dunn, Jackson, Pepin, Pierce, Trempealeau, and St. Croix.

To learn more about the WWWP program or the eligibility requirements, contact the local Wisconsin Well Woman Program coordinator at (715) 839-4718 or visit the Eau Claire County Wisconsin Well Woman Program website. (Go to www.ci.eau-claire.wi.us and type “Wisconsin Well Women” into the search bar at the top of the page.) Breast cancer screening guidelines vary based on a woman’s age and risk factors for breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about the screening plan that is best for you. For additional information about breast cancer, visit the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org/cancer/breastcancer/index.