The Risks of Delayed Cancer Screenings During COVID-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many individuals to delay, cancel, and pause many aspects of their life. The risk of spread amongst communities in the U.S. is making many people think twice about their day-to-day routine and necessities.

Along with the cancellation of social gatherings, modified work environments, and our new social distancing norms, many have also delayed or forgone medical care, treatments, appointments, and screenings for fear of contracting Covid-19.

While it is understandable to feel cautious about unnecessary ventures into public spaces; cancer screenings are life-saving measures that must be prioritized even in the face of a widespread pandemic such as Covid-19.

The reality is that the benefits of obtaining timely breast cancer screenings far outweigh the possible risk of becoming exposed to Covid-19. There are measures you and your medical provider can take to ensure your screening is performed as safely as possible during these difficult times.

Delays in Cancer Screenings Results in Delay of Treatment

While a short postponement of a few days or weeks of an appointment for a cancer screening may not be significant; waiting two months or longer can put you at an increased risk of advanced disease and complicate treatment options. Any delay in a breast cancer screening will inevitably cause a delay in beginning the treatment necessary if a malignancy is detected.

Routine Cancer Screenings Can Save Your Life

Based on a survey conducted by the Prevent Cancer Foundation it is estimated that up to 35% of Americans have missed or postponed cancer screenings due to fears of contracting COVID-19. This is a staggering number of individuals missing crucial cancer screenings that might be in turn endangering their lives.

Missing or postponing cancer screenings has great implications for individuals who unknowingly are living with cancer. It is projected that the continuation of missed screenings and delayed treatments could ultimately result in an additional 10,000 deaths for patients with breast or colorectal cancer in the coming years.

Doctors across the country are concerned about the heightened risks to their patients choosing to miss or postpone their vital cancer screenings during this year. The unexpected impacts of Covid-19 began to spread across the country in March 2020, as we near the end of the year we will likely continue to see the spread of coronavirus across communities.

It is not recommended or feasible to continue to delay cancer screenings during the pandemic. Instead, you must focus your efforts on ensuring you stay up to date on your necessary breast cancer screenings and take all precautions necessary when visiting your medical provider and screening center.

When Was Your Last Breast Cancer Screening?

There are several breast cancer screening options available depending on your age and breast cancer risk. Which option is appropriate and most effective for you and your situation should be a discussion between you and your medical provider

Breast Cancer Screening Tests Include:

  • Clinical Breast Exam — A manual examination performed by a medical professional of your breasts to look for visible changes, lumps, or other signs associated with breast cancer risk.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Breasts — Often used in combination with mammograms in women with a higher risk of breast cancer disease for detection.
  • Mammogram — An x-ray image of the breasts; the most common and often most effective screening tool used by doctors to detect breast cancer development in women.

When deciding whether you are due for a breast cancer screening you should consider your current age, breast cancer risk, and the date of your last breast cancer screening if any.

If you are a woman identified with a higher risk of breast cancer due to family history or the presence of certain genetic markers you must ensure you are maintaining your screenings whether yearly or more frequently as previously discussed with your medical provider.

It is recommended by the CDC that women over the age of 40 without heightened breast cancer risk discuss their screening needs with their medical provider while women aged 50 -74 should obtain a mammogram once every 2 years.

If you have delayed or postponed a breast cancer screening in recent months it is vital that you make an appointment with your provider or screening center as soon as possible. As a woman, your breast health is of utmost importance, and receiving timely screenings will increase your odds of early detection and the best possible treatment options.

How Women’s Imaging Specialists is Working to Keep You Safe

At Women’s Imaging Specialists we understand the concerns of our patients regarding Covid-19 and the pressing need to keep all of our patients, staff, and their families as safe as possible. We have taken a number of actionable steps and precautions to minimize the risk to our patients when visiting our offices while providing you the best possible care and attention you deserve.

First and foremost our Women’s Imaging Specialists centers are located in offices outside of hospitals and do not share parking, office space, or common areas with any hospital system in our area.

We take great pride in the cleanliness and sanitation of all our facilities and equipment. During these exceptional circumstances, we have continued our rigorous sanitation and disinfecting practices throughout each day within common areas and following each patient encounter.

Other COVID-19 procedures and precautions include:

  • Social distancing and spacing in all waiting areas and seating
  • Accommodations for individuals wishing to remain in their car for their appointment time
  • Limiting only the patient to the examination room
  • Mandating any staff feeling ill to stay home; as well as asking patients who are experiencing any symptoms of illness or have been exposed to high-risk areas to reschedule their appointments

Prioritize and Schedule Your Breast Cancer Screening Now

Early detection is the key to fighting breast cancer. Forgoing your breast cancer screening for a later date can put you at a much higher risk of advanced breast cancer disease. Contact us to schedule your breast cancer screening in a safe and welcoming environment at Women’s Imaging Specialists.