Mammograms are one of the most important annual medical screenings for women, as one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime according to the American Cancer Society. Now that hospitals and medical campuses have reopened for operation with new safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, women should not skip their mammograms. Rochester Regional Health imaging manager and mammography technician Diane Kush explains the importance of mammograms and helps us answer common questions about getting your mammogram during the coronavirus pandemic.
As long as patients don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, it is completely safe to get a mammogram during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Rochester Regional Health is implementing every safety measure to protect the health of patients,” said Kush. “It’s more of a risk to skip an annual mammogram than it is to come in for the screening.”
Kush explains that visits are only about fifteen minutes long. “We minimize the patient’s time in the building and we enforce social distancing.”
Cancer can exist in the body before any symptoms are felt. Annual mammogram screenings can detect breast cancer in these early stages and provides doctors with insight to prevent it from developing further. Mammograms are essential to reduce the mortality of breast cancer drastically.
“Screening saves lives,” said Kush. “Mammograms identify breast cancer before women show any symptoms.”
Annual mammogram screenings are important for all women, regardless of race, ethnicity, or their risk of breast cancer. The American College of Radiology advises women to schedule annual mammograms beginning at the age of 40.
If someone has an abnormality and the breast cancer isn’t found as early as possible, treatment can become more extensive. Without mammograms, breast cancer can go undetected, allowing the cancer to potentially spread.
“It’s important to find breast cancer as early as possible, not only to reduce extensive treatment and/or surgery, but so we can save women’s lives.”
There is no specific end date for annual mammogram screenings. It’s important to make that decision with your primary care doctor to ensure you’re doing what’s best for your health.
Rochester Regional Health locations have implemented vast safety measures to protect patients and staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
At the time of your visit, all patients are required to:
Staff at hospitals and other locations are cleaning all frequently touched surfaces throughout each building. Not only are they thoroughly cleaning examination rooms, but waiting rooms, dressing rooms, bathrooms, and all door handles and other touched surfaces are disinfected regularly.
“Patients have the option to check-in over the phone, as well. This can reduce their time in the waiting room,” explained Kush. “They can wait in their vehicle for a technologist to call them by phone and they will be taken right back to the exam room.”
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