Buddy Check 3: Getting back into the habit of regular mammograms

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 5:30 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It was 2020, early in the pandemic, when hospitals were overwhelmed with critical patients being treated for the Coronavirus.

Routine health screenings like mammograms were shut down during those initial quarantines. Mammograms were reserved for patients with apparent symptoms of breast cancer.

“The CDC actually estimated that in April of 2020, screenings dropped by 80% that month alone, and they’re still trying to recover from that,” said Meagan Walkenhorst with the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks.

Today, in the Ozarks, the Breast Cancer Foundation reports mammogram screenings are still down by 30%. Dr. Jessica Snider sees that first hand too. She’s Medical Director for Oncology at Mercy Hospital. And she says fewer patients get those routine mammograms, and more people face a more significant battle to beat breast cancer.

“What we’re seeing is higher stage cancers right now,” said Dr. Snider. “So it delayed diagnosis from the pandemic as we have seen a higher rate of higher stages, so stage two, three, being diagnosed differently. We’d like to give them a little treatment for any cancer that they may have. The more treatment we do, the more side effects there are. So it is life-changing. And so when we see something that could have maybe been caught a little bit earlier, it’s hard. It’s just devastating.”

The National Cancer Institute estimates that over the next ten years, 10,000 lives will be lost to breast and colorectal cancers due to ongoing fewer screenings post-pandemic. Doctors are trying to change that, urging people to get back into the habit of those regular screenings.

“We’re ready for you,” said Dr. Snider. “And if you’re uninsured or underinsured, the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks is anxious to help.”

BCFO’s Program Director Meagan Walkenhorst says, “we just want to remind everyone in the community the yearly screenings are so important that you never know when it’s going to come up. Even if you’re not symptomatic, there could be something there you just don’t know about.”

You can contact BCFO directly to get more information on the available help, even if it’s only to help pay for your insurance deductible.

And if you haven’t signed up yet, please join Buddy Check 3. We’ve partnered with BCFO, Mercy, and Cox Health to help you remind a buddy to do those monthly self-exams. Click here to register: https://www.ky3.com/page/buddy-check-3/

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