MURRAY, Utah (Good Things Utah) – When life gets busy and people are focused on what’s happening in front of them, they can forget to schedule needed medical appointments. For women this includes sometimes skipping their annual mammogram. 

To help relieve this problem, the Intermountain Health’s Breast Care Center at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray is opening for mammogram screenings every Saturday in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Saturday appointment option is aimed at helping women who are busy during the week, giving them more options, time, and flexibility to schedule and receive this important screening.

In the United States, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Survival rates have increased dramatically in recent decades thanks to increase in annual screenings, however, mammography rates in Utah and among the lowest in the nation.

“We understand women in our community get busy taking care of day-to-day life and we don’t want them to go without this vital screening,” said Eugene Kim, MD, medical director of the Intermountain Health Breast Care Center. “We want women to be healthy so they can be there for the people they care about and those who rely on them.”

Women who receive their annual mammogram at Intermountain Health will also have additional resources in determining their risk of developing breast cancer in the future.

Patients take a survey before their mammogram with the hope of determining possible increased risks based on several factors. Those women who are deemed to have increased risks may benefit from additional screenings.

The Tyrer-Cuzick questionnaire is a risk assessment calculator that measures a woman’s 10-year and lifetime risk for developing breast cancer based on family medical history, density of breast tissue, and genealogy. 

Women who score a 20 or higher on their assessment are considered to be at high risk for breast cancer. It also makes them eligible for a FAST MRI breast scan, which is more sensitive and better at detecting issues in the breast tissue.

Linda Campbell was one of the women who used the test and found she qualified for a FAST MRI because of dense breast tissue and a family history of breast cancer. Once she had the scan done doctors discovered she had early-stage breast cancer which wasn’t noticeable on her mammogram.

“I had just barely tested over and wasn’t sure if I needed the FAST MRI but decided to do it and I’m glad I did,” said Campbell. “Had the small tumor removed and had 15 treatments of radiation and never needed chemo because we caught it early.”

Campbell is also the process control coordinator for MRI services at Intermountain Health. She’s a part of the effort to expand the FAST MRI services to more hospitals. 

FAST MRI only takes 10 minutes and costs considerably less than a traditional MRI screening. This year, the service has expanded from Intermountain Medical Center to include McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, American Fork Hospital, and Park City Hospital. FAST MRI is scheduled to be available at Logan Regional Hospital by the end of this year.

Doctors say breast MRI scans won’t replace the need for an annual mammogram because those screenings can still detect some cancers better. 

In the United States, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Survival rates have increased dramatically in recent decades thanks to increase in annual screenings.

To schedule a screening, call Intermountain Health at 801-507-7840, or visit  intermountainhealthcare.org/mammogram

To see questions from the Intermountain questionnaire, click here.

Sponsored by Intermountain Health.