Breast cancer screenings down during the pandemic

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 8:12 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month and experts say the pandemic has caused an even greater need to raise awareness for the disease.

The American Cancer Society says the number of cancer screenings dropped significantly during the pandemic. Dr. Mahvish Muzaffar with East Carolina University/ Vidant Medical Center says early detection is critical when fighting the disease and putting off screenings is making a huge impact on early diagnoses.

Women between 40-44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year. Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year or they can choose to continue yearly screenings. Dr. Muzaffar says all women are considered to be at average risk, even if she does not have a personal history of breast cancer within her family.

Dr. Muzaffar says there are certain risk factors women cannot control, including being born female, getting older, inheriting certain gene changes, race, and family history. However, she says there are things you can do to lower your risks, like limiting alcohol consumption and exercising.

For those who are at high risk, doctors suggest getting a breast MRI and a mammogram every year, typically starting at age 30.

If you are interested in scheduling a screening or have questions about your cancer risk, call 816-RISK(7475) to learn more about Vidant’s cancer screening services.

Vidant Healthplex-Wilson will also be offering free breast and skin cancer screenings and 3D mammograms on Wednesday, October 27 from 1- 5 p.m. at 3724 Raleigh Road Parkway W.

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