Delayed your mammogram? It’s time to get back on track. Earlier this year, the American Cancer Society kicked off a national initiative to encourage women to resume routine screenings for breast cancer.
The “Return to Screening” campaign came in response to the number of Americans who delayed routine cancer screenings — including mammograms — due to the pandemic.
ACS hopes the program will educate and inspire people to get screened with the goal of cancer screening rates returning to pre-pandemic levels or better. This year, the vice chair of the American Cancer Society Kansas City’s Chairman’s Circle Board is Amy Patel, MD, medical director at the Liberty Hospital Breast Care Center.
After noticing the number of women coming in for routine mammograms take a downturn in 2020, she and her team began reaching out using various methods to encourage them not to skip their exams, but to be seen as soon as possible.
“The rising rates of advanced breast cancers right now are a direct response to the fact that women have skipped or delayed their annual screening mammograms,” Dr. Patel said. “Skipping one annual mammogram can result in breast cancer being diagnosed at a more advanced stage, and we know cancers caught at their earliest stages are the most treatable. So we are encouraging women who have put off their screening to call and make an appointment for a routine mammogram today.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and advocates as well as breast cancer survivors will step into the spotlight to share their stories.
“I am hopeful that the attention given to breast cancer during the month of October will motivate women who have not been screened in two, three, four years or more to grasp the importance and then take action to get screened,” Dr. Patel said. “The same is true for anyone – regardless of gender – who has felt something in his or her breast or experienced symptoms but disregarded them; it is imperative for them to be screened immediately. “Early detection is one of the greatest advantages in the fight against breast cancer.”