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Delays in mammogram screening seen by doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic, experts say diagnostic mammograms essential for breast cancer survival




Chicago (WLS)-Due to the pandemic, the majority of women do not have a mammogram this year. This warns the American Cancer Society, an organization involved in the early detection of breast cancer.

Compared to 2019, the number of mammograms in 2020 is significantly lower.

“It plummeted to about 10% of what we normally do, which is a 90% reduction,” said Dr. Carmenguera, Head of Science, National Commission for the American Cancer Society. “Our serious concern is that we have not diagnosed cancer that develops early in the most treatable time.”

For breast cancer survivors like Ruth Melgarejo, the message sounds clear and clear. She was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer just three years ago. She underwent mastectomy and radiation therapy after surgery. She now understands the importance of getting a mammogram, despite the pandemic.

I think it’s a problem that we women need to ask, “Hey, I care about you.” So I always tell my mom, “Have you done the mammogram yet?” Said Melgarejo, the mother of six children.

The American Cancer Society guidelines recommend that women aged 40 to 44 begin to obtain mammograms for breast cancer screening. Women aged 45-54 need to get a mammogram every year. Women over the age of 55 can switch every two years or continue annual screening according to the guidelines.

Related: Loretto Hospital Offering Free Mammograms to Uninsured and Uninsured Women in October

The black and brown communities are especially vulnerable. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death for Latina, Dr. Gera said.

“There are many barriers, especially because Latino people don’t have insurance or doctors, but there’s a lot of help,” said Melgarejo, a Latino who is deeply involved in cancer survivors. Says. Support groups, including bilingual groups.

In Illinois, women living in uninsured states may be eligible for free screening. According to the Illinois Public Health Service website, you must be between 35 and 64 years old, but in some cases young women may also be eligible.

For women in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, see the links below for free help and resources in the state.

Ultimately, it’s important to book now, despite the ongoing pandemic. Dr. Gala emphasized that the medical field is recognized and supports the protocol.

“Schedule your mammography. Hospitals, clinics and mammography centers use completely different protocols to make mammography safe,” said Dr. Gera.

Dr. Gera also warned that waiting could put women in difficult situations. “We will diagnose the whole wave of breast cancer at a much later stage, which unfortunately the treatment is not very effective,” she warned.

Women are not the only focus during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Jaime Viteli, a member of the state committee of the American Cancer Society of Illinois, also said that the local branch is focused on working with diverse communities. In addition to the color community, Viteri says the organization also supports people in the survivor support network, such as men.

“I think ACS is doing a very good job of ensuring that men are involved as husbands and siblings,” Viteri said.

After all, Melgarejo is grateful for her early action and she encourages women to schedule a mammogram. Her message to women now: “Take care of yourself.”

Mammogram resources and information

Indiana Information

Illinois Information

Wisconsin Information

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