CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — While doctors have prescribed social distancing to protect from COVID-19 now, skipping cancer screenings could cost thousands of lives in the long run.
“So, a lot of women are behind in getting their screening mamograms done,” Nurse Navigator Meg Shrader told WAVY.com.
Shrader said that the Jennings Diagnostic Center at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center typically does 800 to 900 mammograms a month, but under the governor’s order in March they, like other institutions, canceled preventative screenings for two months.
Now, as women begin to catch up on those missed appointments, Shrade has a reminder about how important early detection is.
“The earlier we find it, usually the treatment is a little bit shorter. It’s just as effective but we don’t have to pull out the big guns sometimes.”
The National Cancer Institute estimates there could be 10,000 additional breast and colorectal deaths over the next decade as a result of missed screenings and delayed diagnoses and treatment.
Shrader is also preparing for patient clusters.
“Instead of them being spread out through the year, we may start to see clusters where we might see a bump in a couple of months where we usually didn’t.”
Health care centers, including Chesapeake, are taking extra precautions during the coronavirus pandemic — such as wearing masks, spacing out appointments and cleaning after each screening. Health experts are urging women to reschedule missed mammograms or keep upcoming appointments in an effort to catch cancer early and save lives.
Every year, Chesapeake Regional provides free mammograms to women who cannot afford them and this year is no different. Their “Bra-ha-ha” fundraiser is being “reconstructed” due to COVID-19.
If you would like to design a bra for the contest, the deadline to register is Oct. 9. You can sign up and read more about the fundraising event here.
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