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Breast cancer and COVID-19: Expert speaks on mammograms during pandemic

Radiology expert Dr. Sarah Friedewald says mammograms can save lives -- even during the coronavirus pandemic.

MINNESOTA, USA — Getting a mammogram can be stressful, especially during a pandemic. 

A radiology expert spoke to KARE 11 Thursday about mammograms, and what COVID-19 means for them. 

Dr. Sarah Friedewald is an Associate Professor of Radiology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Division Chief of Breast and Women’s Imaging at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

"American women have been smart to 'play it safe' during the pandemic, but now for women ages 40 and older 'playing it safe' means contacting your doctor about scheduling your yearly mammogram," Friedewald told KARE 11.

She says women who are 40 years old or older should talk to their doctor about scheduling a mammogram. Things may be different due to COVID-19 precautions, so you should find out what their protocols are before you get there. 

Plus, Friedewald says, women should weigh their individual risks, follow staff instructions and take common sense precautions during the visit. 

She wants people to know three major things: 

  1. "Women who are 40 years old or older should contact their doctor to schedule their mammogram postponed by the spring-summer CDC-recommended shutdown of cancer screenings due to COVID-19."
  2. Those women "should weigh their individual risk, ask providers about their COVID-19 safety protocols prior to the appointment, follow staff instructions and take common sense precautions during the visit."
  3. "Not scheduling a mammogram can allow breast cancers to advance — become less treatable and more deadly. Studies show more than 35,000 breast cancer diagnoses could be delayed and an additional 5,200 women may die in the U.S. over the next decade due to the spring-summer pause in screening due to COVID-19."

You can find more information at MammographySavesLives.org.

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