Medically reviewed by: Dr. Robert Segal, M.D.
In the face of uncertain times, when current events dominate the news headlines from daily briefings regarding COVID-19 from government and health officials, protesters gathering in large crowds, and the reopening phases of the economy. It is understandable how important medical exams and follow-ups with doctors can be missed or rescheduled to later dates. However, the one medical exam that should not be postponed or canceled is mammograms. Yes, Mammograms still matter.
According to the American Institute of Cancer Research World Cancer Research Fund, breast cancer was the most common cancer worldwide, contributing to 2,088,849 new cases in 2018. That figure was translated to 25.4% of the total number of cancers in 2018. The purpose of this piece is to not scare you out of your wits but into your wits. Our aim is to help remind our readers that missing a mammogram appointment can be a hefty price to pay later down the road.
Why is your annual mammogram so important? Because early detection is critical. According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in their life in the United States. The five-year survival rate for all breast cancer cases is approximately 90%. However, when breast cancer is found in its earliest stages, before metastasizing beyond the breast, the five-year survival rate increases significantly to 99%.
Who should get mammograms? According to the Society for Breast Imaging (SBI) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) guidelines, women aged 25 and older should have a formal risk assessment for breast cancer with their primary care doctor. They can assess risk based on family history and clinical examination. Women whose family history includes a mother or sister who had either breast or ovarian cancer have the highest chance. The SBI and ACR recommend that women with an average risk of breast cancer begin getting yearly mammograms at 40. Women at higher risk are advised to get mammograms based on their provider’s recommendations and annual supplemental imaging.
Mammograms and COVID-19? With phase 2 government mandate of reopening New York’s economy, most facilities have created their own internal guidelines and protocols adjusting to the new normal. Mask wearing and physical distancing are still significant components of these protocols. Many diagnostic imaging services offer thorough cleaning measures of machines and equipment and space their patient schedule to accommodate patients for individualized care. Which should provide adequate assurance not to miss this critical exam.
You can book a mammogram exam at LabFinder by clicking here.