Officials at the Iowa Chapter of the American Cancer Society say they’re concerned with a 4.2% decrease in the number of women 40 or older who’re getting breast cancer screenings. The Health Promotions Manager for the Iowa chapter, Theresa Allen, says that’s not good news because of the important role mammography plays in fighting breast cancer.

Allen says the earlier breast cancer is found, the easier it is to treat. She knows of several women who have had lumpectomy instead of having to undergo radiation treatment because they found the cancer early. Allen doesn’t know why the number of women undergoing the screening has dropped.

Allen says she’s not sure of the reason, other than a lot of women have anxiety of getting the mammogram for fear something will be found. But she says any woman 40 or older should have an annual mammogram. Allen says getting the test annually after 40 is important to early detection.

She says people’s bodies do change after 40 and getting the screening is very important along with a healthy lifestyle. Allen says a mammography takes only about 30 minutes and if you aren’t doing it for yourself, then you should do it for your family. Breast cancer remains a deadly threat in Iowa if not found and treated.

Allen says there will be almost 2,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer this year, with 400 of those women expected to die from the disease. Allen says we need to "empower all women 40 and older" to get a mammogram.

Allen says you can call your physician to schedule a mammogram. For more information, call 1-800-ACS-2345, or visit the American Cancer Society’s website . October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.