On Monday, ABC News correspondent Amy Robach revealed that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer a month after reluctantly agreeing to an on-air mammogram on Good Morning America. Robach’s hectic job schedule kept her from getting tested earlier.
Robach put off the mammogram for over a year. “Between flying all over the world for work and running around with my kids to school, and ballet, and gymnastics like so many women, I just kept pushing it off — until now,” said Robach. A much longer wait might have complicated her path to recovery.
Nonetheless, some younger women who aren’t as financially secure as Robach regularly put off getting mammograms, according to a recent study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Nearly one in five surveyed women younger than 40 who had self-identified breast abnormalities waited at least three months before seeing a doctor, and 12 percent of these women experienced a three-month lapse before getting an official breast cancer diagnosis.
The common thread among the women who put off receiving care? Costs.
“The findings may lead to research focusing on whether reducing co-pays and hidden costs of seeking medical care — such as parking charges, child-care expenses and lost wages — may improve the timeliness of diagnosis in this population,” said lead study author Dr. Kathryn Ruddy.
Obamacare helps address the co-pay part of the equation. Recommended preventative care services such as mammograms and Pap smears must be provided for free under the health law. But women who go in for mammograms should make sure that their doctors understand the hospital visit is for purely preventative care, since some confused doctors are still charging Americans for preventative services that should now be free.