October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month every year.
Statistics show breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in the United States, with the average risk around 13% (or 1 in 8). More than 279,000 new cases of breast cancer are expected in the U.S. this year.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken over many health discussions in 2020, doctors are reminding women to continue regular breast self-exams and get back on a regular mammogram routine.
Allina Health recently reported 13,000 mammograms were canceled between March and July due to the pandemic.
"It’s safe to return to your clinic for your annual mammogram," said UCare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Julia Joseph-Di Caprio. "Mammograms save lives - catching breast cancer early through a screening is the best way to protect yourself."
Doctors say women 40 and older should get annual mammograms; the screenings should start younger if there's a family history of breast cancer.
Insurance companies generally cover the costs of mammograms. For those without insurance, the SAGE program through the state of Minnesota provides free screenings.
UCare and Health Fair 11 have supported breast health education and awareness for more than two decades with the Buddy Check 11 campaign. Each month, Health Fair 11 sends out an email reminding people to do regular breast self-exams and schedule their annual mammograms.