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Breast cancer and other medical illnesses remain a risk for women - even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, due to concerns about the virus, many women have postponed their annual screening mammograms, increasing their risk of undetected cancer.

Navarro Regional Hospital is encouraging women who may have delayed their mammograms to schedule the screening now, because when breast cancer is detected early, life-saving treatment can begin right away.

“When screenings are delayed, diagnosis is delayed, and treatment is delayed,” said Bill Cook, M.D., Ob/Gyn. “But the best chance for survival of any cancer is early diagnosis and treatment. Women should not be afraid to get a mammogram. Many stringent safety precautions have been put in place in our imaging center to protect everyone from COVID-19, so as a doctor, I’m telling you - if you’ve put off a mammogram, don’t put it off any longer.”

Early Detection Saves Lives

Nearly all breast cancers can be treated successfully if found early. The most effective way to detect breast cancer at an early, treatable stage is to have yearly mammograms. Since mammography became widely used in the 1980s, the U.S. breast cancer death rate in women has dropped 43%.

The American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging recommend that all women, particularly African American and those of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, should have a risk assessment at age 30 to see if a screening earlier than age 40 is needed. Women who were previously diagnosed with breast cancer are recommended to be screened with magnetic resonance imaging, an MRI.

For women of average risk, the ACR and SBI recommend annual mammograms starting at age 40. Different guidelines apply to women at higher risk. A screening mammogram can help detect breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages.

Safety Measures to Protect Against COVID-19

For the protection of patients and staff, Navarro Regional and Solis Mammography are pre-screening all patients for any COVID-19 symptoms, limiting appointments to maintain social distancing, requiring staff and patients all wear masks, online pre-registration and cleaning consistently throughout each day.

To find a primary care doctor or OB/GYN, visit the “Find a Doctor” link on the home page or call 903-872-DOCS. Mammograms can be scheduled by calling 903-201-6262 or visit SolisMammo.com.

This article was submitted by Navarro Regional Hospital.

Sources:

• Journal of the American College of Radiology 2018;15:408-414; Monticciolo et al, Breast Cancer Screening in Women at Higher-Than-Average-Risk: Recommendations from the ACR; https://www.jacr.org/article/S1546-1440(17)31524-7/pdf?_ga=2.93193812.894670593.1599667007-958177338.1599667007

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