Don’t skip mammograms during pandemic, early detection saves lives

Dont skip mammogram
Regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early. – Photo courtesy of the Office on Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 

Special to The Dallas Examiner

 

Despite breakthroughs in treatments, breast cancer remains the most common cancer in women of all races and ethnicities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both Black and White women get breast cancer at about the same rate, but Black women die from breast cancer at a higher rate than White women. Due to disparities in access to breast cancer screening, Black and Hispanic women are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage than White women. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians at Parkland Health & Hospital System say women should not put off their annual screening mammogram

“COVID-19 has been with us for more than 7 months and will be around for quite a while longer. We know that breast cancer is more survivable when diagnosed and treated early. Screening mammograms find breast cancer at its earliest stage, when it is more treatable,” said Jessica Porembka, MD, medical director of Breast Imaging and Quality Assurance at Parkland. “That’s why we don’t want women to postpone mammogram screenings during the pandemic. At Parkland, we’ve taken many COVID-19 precautions to ensure patients and staff are safe.”

Among those precautions are screening for COVID-19 symptoms of everyone entering any Parkland facility, mandatory use of face masks for everyone at all times, limited seating and spacing out of appointments for social distancing in clinics and mobile mammography units, including in waiting areas and dressing rooms.

“Routine mammogram screenings save lives,” Porembka said. “Most women aged 40 and older should get a screening mammogram every year. Women at increased risk for breast cancer may need more frequent screening starting at a younger age. Getting routine screening mammograms is an important part of maintaining your overall health and protecting yourself from breast cancer.”

Parkland will offer no-cost mobile mammography throughout Dallas County during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m at the locations below. To register and ensure your eligibility for no-cost mammograms, please call 214-266-3327.

Saturday – Holy Cross Catholic Church, 5004 Bonnie View Road

Oct. 17 – Mexican Consulate Binational Health Fair, 1210 River Bend Drive

Oct. 29 – Oak Cliff Family YMCA, 6701 S. Hampton Road

 

Tips to prepare for a mammogram

Getting routine screening mammograms is an important part of maintaining your overall health and protecting yourself from breast cancer. Early detection and treatment are the keys to surviving breast cancer. Women aged 40 and older should get a screening mammogram every year. Most things go better with a little preparation, and mammograms are no exception.

Here are five tips from Parkland Hospital on how to prepare for a mammogram:

  • Bring your ID and insurance information for identity verification.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit so you’ll only need to remove your top for the screening.
  • Leave any jewelry at home as it can interfere with obtaining clear X-ray images of the breasts.
  • Avoid wearing deodorant or perfumes to prevent particles from showing up on your mammogram.
  • Complete any paperwork ahead of your appointment if possible, for a quicker check-in process.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also recommended that women try not to schedule a mammogram the week before or during her period. Breasts may be tender or swollen then.

A mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer as early as possible. Parkland’s Comprehensive Breast Center offers mammogram screenings. To set up an appointment, call 214-266-3333. For more information visit, https://www.parklandhospital.com/comprehensive-breast-center.

 

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