During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, breast surgeons at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Medical City Dallas are reminding women – and men – that prolonged screening delays related to the pandemic may lead to delayed diagnoses and poor health consequences. They are encouraging the public to prioritize their annual mammogram if it was missed due to the pandemic.
In April 2020, breast cancer screenings dropped 87% compared to that month in the previous five years, according to the CDC. Now, experts are seeing a return to normal rates in breast cancer screenings, an important step in the prevention and diagnosis of breast cancer.
“We originally saw delays in routine checkups during the pandemic causing breast cancer, in some cases, to be diagnosed at a progressed stage,” says Rachel Warren, MD, a breast surgeon at Medical City Dallas. “We are pleased to see this trend beginning to reverse as women return to scheduling routine and potentially life-saving mammograms.”
Experts at Medical City Dallas offer these additional tips to be proactive with breast health:
- Start at 40: Optional annual mammograms starting at age 40, recommended annual mammograms starting at 45
- Make it a habit: Routine annual mammograms can detect early stage breast cancers the size of a pea or smaller
- Self-exams: Self-exams should be performed at the same time every month to check for changes in size, shape and texture
- Know personal risks: Become familiar with risk factors, including lifestyle factors and family history, that can increase the risk for developing breast cancer
“Mammograms can save lives by detecting breast cancer before it causes any warning signs or symptoms,” says Allison DiPasquale, MD, director of breast oncology at Medical City Dallas. “Catching cancer early may also provide more therapy choices and the opportunity to provide less aggressive treatment options.”
The Breast Center at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute Medical City Dallas provides comprehensive and individualized breast care, including advanced risk assessments, testing and treatment options. It is accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) and offers access to innovative biopsy techniques, including less invasive and image-guided procedures.