ROCHESTER, Minn. - The pandemic has impacted preventative health care and treatment. That's because many patients have avoided going to medical facilities for diagnostics for fear of contracting COVID-19.
Statistics show mammograms fell at a staggering rate at the height of the pandemic.
Dr. Saranya Chumsri is an oncologist at Mayo Clinic and stresses this is not something to put off.
Mayo Clinic recommends women should start yearly mammograms at the age of 40. They can show abnormal calcifications in the breast, which help in detection.
Some types of breast cancer can grow very fast. Delaying a screening could mean life or death.
"But if you wait until the cancer started to grow, especially if it started to spread to the lymph node, then the cure rate gets much lower," Dr. Chumsri said, "or if it starts to spread somewhere else then it becomes uncurable."
In addition to improving the chances of curing a patient, early detection can help in patients' treatment choices. Early diagnosis gives patients more say in whether they have surgery or undergo chemotherapy.
For screening options, be sure to contact your health care provider.