Medical appointments that were not urgent were cancelled to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, therefore many women did not get their mammogram. Now that health care professionals can see patients again for routine care, we can get back to keeping up to date with breast cancer screening.
The pandemic doesn’t change the fact that one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. The Cancer Services Program of the North Country strongly encourages any woman who had to cancel her mammogram to get it back on the calendar now. A mammogram can find breast cancer early when it’s easiest to treat.
Doctor’s offices and mammography sites are taking steps so that screening can be done more safely. These steps may include:
n Asking patients about COVID-19 symptoms before the appointment.
n Providing face masks and hand sanitizer.
n Adding more time between patient appointments.
n Frequent disinfecting and cleaning of common areas.
n Disinfecting mammography equipment after each patient.
n And spacing chairs in waiting areas so that people can social distance.
While medical offices are doing all they can to ensure patient safety, women should speak with their health care provider about their overall health and their risk for breast cancer. They can decide together if getting a screening is safe at this time.
If you don’t have health insurance, the CSP of the North Country can help. Call to find out if you qualify for free breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening. Please call the CSP at 855-592-0830 for more information about cancer screening and how we can help you stay healthy.
The writer is coordinator of the Cancer Services Program of the North Country.