Want to have a super cool girls’ night out? How about some wine, snacks, a massage and a mammogram?
Women’s health centers across the nation are offering “mammogram parties” to encourage women to have their breasts checked for abnormalities that could signal cancer. Given a little notice, some of them will even customize an event for a large group.
In Lancaster, Pa., the “Girls ‘n’ ‘Grams” event on Oct. 13 will feature food, gifts, mini-facials, makeovers, foot massages, shopping and, of course, mammograms. Around the country, participants in these events are trading work clothes for plush robes and cocktails, offering support to other women to take a bit of the chill out of the annual mammogram.
“Anything that encourages women to get screening tests is a great idea,” said Susan Brown, a director of health education with the Susan G. Komen foundation.
Dr. Lucy Hornstein hosted the “Second Annual Dr. Dino’s Bagels and Boobs” this summer in Valley Forge, Pa. Dr. Dino, as she is known to patients, brought the bagels and cream cheese, and then joined a dozen of her patients in getting their annual mammograms.
“I can’t think of a better way to honor (my mother’s) memory,” said Hornstein, whose mother died of breast cancer more than 25 years ago.
Linda Johnson, 63, was visiting friends in Florida when a friend coaxed her into going to a Florida Hospital Volusia/Flagler Pink Army Party. As a result, she was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer earlier this year.
“At the Pink Party, you are standing right there with a friend, not a medical person in a white coat scaring you,” she said.
National Mammography Day is Oct. 21. The date serves as a reminder to schedule a mammogram with a friend, sister, coworker or group of women. Test your knowledge of mammograms with this quiz.
“Mammography is an easy test that can save your life,” said Dr. Dahlia Sataloff, director of The Integrated Breast Cancer Center at Penn Hospital. “Why wouldn’t you do it?”
Bryn Mawr Hospital, a part of Main Line Health systems, also does Pink Party Fundraising. The events allow women to schedule a party at their own home or organization. Hostess schedule the party and invite family and friends. After that, the Paisley Pear and Studio M bring the shopping right to you.
These parties aren’t just about merchandising, but about supporting a cause. Fifteen percent of the sales and 100 percent of all pink product sales go to the Comprehensive Breast Center, which supports uninsured and underinsured women to provide free mammograms and support during the illness.
To schedule a pink party in the Montgomery County area, call Maria Delany at 215-280-4327 or Kate Beachelle at 484-320-8282.
For more on the Comprehensive Breast Center, call Eileen Morgans at 484-337-8744. To schedule a mammogram, call 484-337-4400.
Tips for when you go from the American Cancer Society:
• Everyone must have doctor’s order for a mammogram and money to pay or proof of insurance. Some places offering freebies have age restrictions (40 plus).
• Bring any past scans or dates and provider phone numbers for previous mammograms, biopsies, etc.
• Don’t wear deodorant, lotion, cream or powder as these things could interfere with a clear mammogram.
The best time to go is one week after the menstrual cycle ends – especially for women with tender breasts.