Many women have been faced with the decision of whether to skip or postpone routine mammogram screenings during the current pandemic to avoid potential exposure to the coronavirus. It is important to know that when it comes to breast cancer screenings, staying home may actually be the bigger risk.
Breast cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer when caught early. Screening tests play an integral role in detecting cancerous or even precancerous tissue in women with no other symptoms. In short, mammograms and other diagnostic techniques for breast cancer save lives and it’s crucial to get them on time.
Delaying your screening by a month or two is okay, but you shouldn’t put the test off indefinitely, experts say. If you canceled a mammogram or avoided scheduling one, get an appointment on the books now. If you’re due for a mammogram soon, you should still schedule it.
And don’t worry, you don’t need to wait months for an open appointment. “We’re absolutely able to schedule women for both screenings and diagnostic tests right now,” said Mina Shedouda, MD, oncologist and hematologist, at The Comprehensive Breast Health Center at Pleasant Valley Hospital.
How We’re Protecting Our Patients
The Comprehensive Breast Health Center at Pleasant Valley Hospital is committed to keeping COVID-19 out of our center and providing the safest possible breast cancer screening experience for our patients. We’re taking strong protective actions, including:
- Screening every person for COVID-19 symptoms upon entering
- Requiring everyone within our walls to wear a mask at all times
- Testing all patients prior to surgery to ensure that they do not have undiagnosed, asymptomatic COVID-19
- Spacing out mammogram appointments to allow time to thoroughly clean exam rooms and equipment after each patient visit and procedure to decrease the number of people in one place at any given time.
- Limiting visitors from accompanying patients during appointments which allows us to promote physical distancing
We understand that simply seeing a list of safety measures might not be enough to make you feel comfortable. “If you want to get screened but are feeling anxious, give us a call so we can talk through your concerns,” Dr. Shenouda said. “You can also talk with your primary care provider to weigh the risks and benefits of screening now or delaying a little longer.”
Scheduling Your Breast Cancer Screening
Now and always, The Comprehensive Breast Health Center at Pleasant Valley Hospital offers the regions only state-of-the-art 3D mammography screening technology to catch more breast cancers early, when they’re most treatable.
If you’re found to be at average risk for breast cancer, you should undergo annual screenings beginning at age 40. If you’re at high risk or have a family history of breast cancer, you should start screenings at age 35. Some women may be advised to begin screenings sooner, depending on their risk factors.
To schedule your breast cancer screening at Pleasant Valley Hospital’s Comprehensive Breast Health Center, please call 304.675.6257.
Learn more about breast cancer screening at Pleasant Valley Hospital’s Comprehensive Breast Health Center here.