Think Pink! Consult Your Physician About Screening
The unpredictable and sometimes tumultuous 2020 has changed “everyday” life for people throughout the country.
While the coronavirus pandemic has impacted all of us, some things remain the same. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The American Cancer Society recommends that women consult their physicians about screenings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier in the year, many types of medical screenings were temporarily put on hold as a precaution intended to slow the spread of COVID-19. As the months have passed and some restrictions have been lifted, that call or email to your physician is even more important now.
The American Cancer Society advises women age 40 to 44 to consider getting annual mammograms and states that women ages 45 to 54 should get an annual mammogram. The organization’s recommendations advise women 55 and older to get a mammogram every two years.
The National Cancer Institute estimated earlier this year that there will be 10,000 more deaths from breast cancer and colorectal cancers in the United States over the next 10 years because of the pandemic’s impact on screening visits and treatment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommendations for healthcare facilities to reduce the risk of COVID transmission:
• Screening centers should be available to answer questions from patients via phone or web portal before and/or after the screening procedure.
• Patients should be pre-screened for COVID-related symptoms before screening appointments.
• Scheduling of appointments should allow for physical distancing between patients, and longer appointment times, if needed, to avoid crowding in waiting rooms and patient care areas.
• There should be limitations on visitors other than patients and/or their caregivers into the screening facility.
• If not done in front of the patient, the screening center should be able to explain how often equipment and surfaces are disinfected and cleaned.
• Everyone, including patients and staff, should wear a face covering or face mask, where appropriate. There should be frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer by staff, patients, and visitors.