Life Saving Reminder: Don’t Skip Annual Mammogram Because of Pandemic

Oct 1, 2020, 7:33 PM
Dr. Brett Parkinson said it's important for women of normal risk to start screening mammography at ...
Dr. Brett Parkinson said it's important for women of normal risk to start screening mammography at age 40.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The first day of October marks the first day of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Intermountain Healthcare is reminding women just how important is to schedule a mammogram even as the pandemic continues.

Health care systems across the country stopped mammography exams and other non-emergency procedures at the beginning of the pandemic to protect PPE supplies and ensure the availability of hospital rooms as experts warned COVID-19 could overwhelm the medical system.

Now that hospitals are reopening, along with other parts of the economy, medical experts warn some women are skipping their annual mammograms.

“Even though we took a pause in service, breast cancer didn’t take any such break,” said Brett Parkinson, MD, medical director of breast imaging and screening for Intermountain Healthcare.  “We can’t have women waiting a year for their next screening because if there is cancer it can get out of control during that time.”

The release quoted a study by the American Cancer Society that said early detection is key for a better outcome. It said annual screenings have saved 375,000 lives between 1989 and 2017.

It’s a message that is not heard enough in Utah. The release said our state continues to lag other states in the number of screening and again currently ranks near the bottom in the nation.

Intermountain clinicians are reminding all women to get their first mammography at age 40 and continue annually, the release said.

“Annual screenings have proven to be the most effective way of catching breast cancer early,” said Dr. Parkinson. “And the earlier the cancer is detected, the better the odds treatment will be effective.”

Call your healthcare provider to schedule a mammography.

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Life Saving Reminder: Don’t Skip Annual Mammogram Because of Pandemic