Doctors urge women not to skip breast cancer screenings during pandemic
Some women are skipping their breast cancer screenings during the COVID-19 pandemic. But health officials say that they are important tools to detecting the illness early.
“Within the context of COVID, we can’t use sight. That cancer still develops,” says Dr. Deborah Toppmeyer. “Early detection makes such a difference.”
Toppmeyer says that nationally there has been a decrease in breast cancer diagnosis, but not because there has been less incidents, but a “failure to diagnosis” and decreased screenings.
She says that it is important for breast cancer screenings to take place now while COVID-19 transmission rates are low.
Toppmeyer says that waiting too long for a screening can be deadly.
“We’re seeing in certain cases the later stage of diagnosis,” she says. "When cancer is not detected early, it has a propensity to spread outside the breast, to the lymph nodes underneath the armpit and other parts of the body."
Toppmeyer says that medical facilities are taking all the proper precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Patients wait outside in their car and are called in…We have maximized social distancing,” she says.
Patients also wear masks, and visitors are limited.
Doctors say screenings are also down for colorectal, lung, gastric and pancreatic cancers.