In 2012, 200 women died from breast cancer in Idaho and Wyoming. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, approximately four in five (80.9%) women in the United States aged 50 and older report having had a mammogram in the past two years. Massachusetts (89.5%), the District of Columbia (86.3%), and Rhode Island (86.2%) have the largest shares of women who have had a breast cancer screening. Oklahoma (73.4%), Idaho (72.4%), and Wyoming (70.6%) have the smallest shares. The American Cancer Society gives lower numbers, saying that the highest states are Massachusetts (72%), Delaware (68%), and Rhode Island (67%). The lowest states were Idaho (49%) and Wyoming (47%). A potential reason why the numbers are so different is that the American Cancer Society study included women 40 and older, instead of the usual 50 and older. Regardless of the exact numbers, both these sources show that Idaho and Wyoming are falling behind in regular mammogram screenings. 5 hospitals in the Teton Region have united in an effort to make a change!
We know that setting goals is an important part of improvement. That’s why the Teton Pinky Promise Coalition has set a goal of 80% of women aged 50 and older in Idaho and Wyoming to receive mammograms by the end of 2015. We also have a goal of over 2000 electronic “pinky promises” for women to schedule a personal mammogram and encourage their friends and family to schedule mammograms as well. Everyone can pinky promise to talk to their loved ones about mammograms, even if you aren’t in the gender or age class that needs those tests. Let’s all do our part to meet our goal and raise breast cancer awareness.