Letter: Why don’t women over 74 get mammogram notices?

From reader Bonnie Schlakoff…

I contacted my MLA in Castlegar today, June 19, asking her to find out the reasons why women over 74 are no longer sent appointment cards for annual or bi-annual mammograms. Women, after the age of 74, are required to go to their doctors to request a mammogram.

It is then left up to their doctor as to whether a women needs to have a mammogram done. This puts added inconvenience on a senior who now has to judge whether she needs to see a doctor and have a referral for this test. I asked my MLA to ask the health minister why having a life-saving test should be put on the shoulders of a doctor and on the senior herself.

Why is the age limit 74? Are women free from the risk of developing breast cancer after this age? No, the opposite is true, women are more prone to cancers as they grow older. To catch a cancer early means a good prognosis, to catch a cancer when it has metastized is a poor prognosis.

Then there is the added cost to our health care system in the the thousands of health care dollars that need to be spent on continuous cancer treatments, let alone the cost of the pain and suffering on the senior and her family.

Ask your local MLA to address this age limit on women over 74. These women have worked all their lives with jobs, with careers, with raising families. Do not allow them to be shuffled out of a life-saving test.

Bonnie Shlakoff