October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Don’t Delay – Get Screened Today
Many in-person events must be delayed because of COVID-19, but cancer screening should not be one of them.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a drop in newly identified cases of cancer because people put off cancer screenings and procedures due to COVID-19.
The study reported a 46.4% decline in newly identified patients with breast, colorectal, lung, pancreatic, gastric and esophageal cancer compared to before the pandemic. The American College of Radiology (ACR) also found a reduction in breast cancer screenings due to the pandemic could result in delayed detection of more than 35,000 breast cancers.
“One in eight women in America will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime and the risk of developing breast cancer does not change during the pandemic,” said radiologist Dr. Annie Ko, one of TRA’s breast imaging experts at Diagnostic Imaging Northwest (DINW).
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it is more important than ever for individuals to receive their regular mammograms. At DINW, we are committed to providing patients a safe and healthy experience at all of our clinical locations and we have several safeguards in place to protect you, your fellow patients and our healthcare professionals.
“While we have all increased our vigilance in taking care of our immediate health and keeping safe, I hope all women will continue routine screenings and preventative care to ensure their future health,” Dr. Ko said. “At our DINW sites, we have enhanced safety and cleaning protocols in place to ensure the safety of our patients and staff and encourage all women to not delay in obtaining their annual mammogram.”
ACR guidelines for mammography recommend women of average risk receive annual mammograms starting at age 40, and higher-risk women start screening earlier. Women should also have a risk assessment by age 30 to see if they are at increased risk for breast cancer – particularly Black and Jewish women and those with a family history of breast cancer.
“We know that mammograms are the best screening tool to detect breast cancer early and most lives are saved when women begin annual screening at age 40,” Dr. Ko said.