CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) – A local radiology center said there’s been a decrease in mammograms and an increase in breast cancer cases since the pandemic.
Over 90% of cancer screenings (22 million screenings) were canceled, delayed or rescheduled across the country since the pandemic, according to the American Cancer Society.
Northwest Radiology is encouraging people to get a mammogram before it’s too late.
Diagnostic Radiologist Dr. Allen Engel told News 8 though appointments have increased during the summer and fall months in 2020, mammograms are still down 20% since before the pandemic.
Doctors suggest all women age 40 and older should get an annual mammogram.
A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray image of breast tissue.
It detects breast cancer before it can be felt or before symptoms develop.
Mammograms can decrease the death rate of breast cancer by 40%, according to Northwest Radiology.
The center mentioned the rate of breast cancer increases with age and screening should continue past age 74.
Breast cancer survivor, Michele Cohen from Carmel said she skipped her annual mammogram at age 40 and was diagnosed with stage IIB invasive breast cancer two years later.
“I skipped it. I was like ‘I don’t need to do it.’ Don’t skip it and feel your boobs! I never felt mine,” Cohen said.
“If one compares women who undergo a screening mammogram compared to women who don’t undergo a screening mammogram the death rate or the mortality rate is reduced 30-40% simply by having that screening mammogram,” Dr. Engel added.
The American Cancer Society said in women only there’s been an estimated 284,200 new cases of breast cancer in 2021.
There have been an estimated 44,130 deaths in 2021.
In 2019, there were an estimated 268,600 breast cancer cases and an estimated 41,760 deaths in women.
It’s important to know that men can also get breast cancer. Dr. Engel mentioned that it is safe to undergo routine health exams though living in a pandemic.