CHP: Plan Your COVID-safe Mammogram
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — You can have a COVID-safe mammogram. If you are overdue for yours now's the time to make your appointment.
In the early months of COVID-19, mammography numbers declined dramatically in the U.S. as hospitals and health care facilities suspended elective and preventive medical care to reduce virus transmission. Now, with more awareness of how to prevent COVID-19 transmission, mammograms and other diagnostic care are being offered again in safe surroundings.
One in eight women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, but early detection with a mammogram can be key to beating the disease. Early detection is a key factor in successfully treating breast cancer, and we urge all of our women patients to schedule their mammogram—especially if they have not had one within the last 24 months.
Medical facilities are aggressive in ensuring safe diagnostic settings for both staff and patients: visitors and patients are pre-screened for COVID-like symptoms. Waiting rooms and common areas are set up for appropriate physical distancing. Staff and patients must wear face coverings. Medical equipment and patient rooms are disinfected frequently.
The American Cancer Society recommends women age 40-44 begin getting mammograms; women 45-54 should get a mammogram yearly, while women 55 and older can be screened every two years, or annually. But the ACS reported a 90 percent drop this year in mammography screenings.
Cancer experts are concerned that delayed breast cancer screening can impact treatment options and patient mortality. The National Cancer Institute projects that missed preventive screenings during COVID-19 could lead to about 10,000 additional deaths from breast and colon cancer over the next 10 years.
The importance of breast cancer screening, and the benefits of early detection, far outweighs the risk of contracting COVID-19, given the safety protocols in our medical facilities.
Contact your CHP health care practice to arrange your mammogram.