Now that we’re through the worst of the pandemic (knock on wood), the side effects continue in many ways we don’t typically think about. For example, we’ve all heard about postponing elective surgeries. But what I found most alarming are the statistics around disease screening, including cancer.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, so it’s the perfect time to talk about breast cancer screening. Breast cancer is becoming so common, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.
Early detection is critical. Screenings can discover cancer when it is most treatable and before it has a chance to spread to other parts of the body. In fact, breast cancer has one of the highest survival rates of all cancers when caught early – 99% of localized breast cancers can be cured.
So here we have a common disease that is easily cured when caught early through screening. Yet so many women – our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters – succumb to this terrible disease every year.
COVID certainly didn’t help matters. Breast cancer screening dropped dramatically during the pandemic. Dr. Connie Lehman, chief of breast imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that breast cancer screening there dropped by 90% in April 2020, the month after COVID hit. When screening drops by that much, the reality is there are many women with breast cancer who don’t even know it yet. The tragedy is that it would be much more treatable today than it will be tomorrow if they did.
Screening and early detection save lives. Book your mammogram now, so you have peace of mind. Give yourself the best chance for a long, healthy life.