By Julia Bisschops
The number of newly reported cancer cases is declining. That sounds like good news, but it’s not. Fewer cancers are diagnosed because fewer people are being screened for cancer. They are postponing routine screening tests like mammograms, pap tests and colonoscopies because of COVID-19. A recent survey by the Cancer Prevention Foundation found that 43% of Americans missed preventive medical appointments because of COVID-19. The key to saving lives in cancer screening is early detection, and we are missing this opportunity during this pandemic.
I understand the capture. As the leading physician i Linda Fenner 3D Mobile Mammography Center, I know that screening tests, including mammograms, are in themselves nerve-wracking. Our patients do not rest easily until they hear that their mammography results are normal. Now, they have the added concern of being exposed to the new coronavirus. Understandably, some women do not want to take risks. Pushing a mammogram, they are also at risk.
Mammography saves lives. Allows us to detect breast cancer early. And the sooner we catch it, the greater the woman’s chance of survival.
International University of Florida Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine launched the mobile mammography center in 2014 in response to alarming levels of late-stage breast cancer in South Florida communities where many uninsured women do not have access to health care. We offer free screening mammograms for uninsured women in Miami Dade County and have a patient navigator to assist women seeking to pursue imaging studies and specialist care.
Like many other health institutions, our mobile mammography center was temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But we are back. And so are the other image centers. I urge women to take preventative care, including mammograms, and do them safely.
Our new normal includes a limit of just one patient in the mobile center at a time to allow social distance. We make pre-screening phone calls to minimize the risk of someone bringing the virus on board and do a deep cleansing after each patient. We also provide patients with a mask to wear before coming on board, and all our staff carry personal protective equipment – mask, face shield, gloves, dress. I recommend that you ask and make sure that your doctor or healthcare facility is also following all necessary safety precautions.
We can no longer afford to wait for these important health examinations. Dr. Norman Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, warns that COVID-19 could affect cancer mortality. He predicts that just a drop in breast and colorectal cancer screening could lead to an additional 10,000 deaths in the next decade because of the missed opportunity for early detection before the cancer spreads.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but for us, every month is October. We need to remind women throughout the year about the importance of screening for breast cancer.
** Uninsured women interested in a free mammography screening can call 305-FIU-PINK (305-348-7465).
What Are The Main Benefits Of Comparing Car Insurance Quotes Online
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