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Experts: too few women are getting a mammogram due to COVID-19

But there has been a fairly steady increase this month
Posted at 4:56 PM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 06:01:34-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Twelve-year breast cancer survivor and advocate Annette Colden said she highly recommends women get their yearly mammograms.

"Breast cancer, it does not know about the COVID. So therefore, it's not going to stop attacking, it's going to continue attacking," she said.

Colden lost her sister to stage 4 breast cancer.

"When I lost my sister and she was transitioning on to heaven, she made me promise her that I would get my mammogram," she said. And she kept that promise, getting three mammograms before an official diagnosis.

She has a history of cancer in her family, and lost many loved ones to it.

"I just can't stress enough to get your mammogram," said Colden.

But eight months into the Coronavirus pandemic, some women might still be putting off their annual mammogram or deciding not to go at all.

Dr. Ermelinda Bonaccio, the Chair of Diagnostic Radiology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, said you really shouldn't skip getting one this year.

"The national numbers still look like overall, there is a decrease," said Dr. Bonaccio. "And if we look back at our numbers, I know probably over 1,200 mammograms that were missed in March, April, May, I don't think we made those up yet."

She's referring to the months where all screenings were paused. But this month, they've had an increase in mammograms.

Dr. Bonaccio said women should get annual mammograms starting at age 40.

"Most women who develop breast cancer do not have a significant risk factor for breast cancer. Being a woman really is our biggest risk factor," she said.

And Roswell Park has taken steps to make sure it's safe for patients to come in.

You'll come into the main hospital for COVID-19 screening, get your temperature checked and be given a mask if you don't have one.

Then you'll go to the mammography center and check in. You will change in the mammography room.

And instead of waiting for your results in the waiting room, you will get a call the next morning with your results.