COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - Due to COVID-19, the number of people being screened for breast cancer has declined.
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now is a good time to schedule your yearly mammogram.
KRDO spoke with Penrad Imaging Chief Executive Officer, Renee Ward, on mammography during COVID, resources for those who can't afford mammograms and the importance of routine screenings.
Why is getting a yearly mammogram so important?
"Mammography is the best tool in our arsenal to detecting breast cancer, one in eight women will have breast cancer in her lifetime. Mammography, while not perfect, helps us detect small tumors in the breast, that combined with self-breast exams and clinical breast exams by your physician, are the best tools that we have to detect breast cancer."
At what age should you start getting mammograms?
"We follow the American College of Radiology and the Society For Breast Imaging, those are professional organizations that set the standard for quality and imaging services, and they both recommend getting mammograms starting at age 40 for women of moderate risk - simply if you are a woman it puts you in the moderate risk category. People who have a high-risk for breast cancer, and that would be women who have a strong family history or some genetic pre-deposition to breast cancer, should start earlier."
Have you seen a decline in people getting mammograms due to COVID-19?
"Yes, yes absolutely we have, in our clinics, we had a 40% drop in volume across all of our clinics against all modalities - mammography included. I know nationwide there has been a 94% drop in mammograms at least in the month of March. Our recommendation is for people not to avoid screening exams even in the setting of COVID."
How are you utilizing new technology?
"We actually have a lot of new breast technology, probably the most prevalent in our community is 3D mammography or digital breast tomosynthesis where we get a 3D image of the breast as opposed to a two-dimensional image."
What are some resources for people who can't afford routine screenings?
"We run a mammography special during the month of October, we also run it in May in honor of Mother's Day, because we do understand that there are people that still don't have insurance so we offer a $99 mammo screening special so that our uninsured or underinsured women in the community can access the care that they need."
For more information on Penrad Imaging click here. You can also call 719-785-9000.