October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Tower Health is educating women about the importance of scheduling their annual mammogram. Regular mammograms are critical for the early detection of breast cancer. That is why it is so important that women do not delay a mammogram. Detecting breast cancer in its earliest stages gives women the best chance for effective treatment.
The award-winning, high-quality breast health and imaging services can help identify breast issues before they become larger health problems. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 12,180 women in Pennsylvania will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.
Because of government mandated shutdowns and concern about COVID-19, many women opted to delay important routine care, including mammograms. As a result, Tower Health has seen a decrease in screening and diagnostic mammograms from 68,925 in fiscal year 2019 to 64,739 in fiscal year 2020, a decrease of more than 6 percent.
“In calendar year 2019 our hospitals diagnosed 696 of our patients with breast cancer,” said Michael Brown, MD, Oncology Service Line Director, Tower Health and Medical Director, McGlinn Cancer Institute at Reading Hospital. “We encourage women over the age of 40 in the community to schedule their annual mammogram during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Tower Health has screening facilities conveniently located in each of our hospital communities.”
For women coming to a Tower Health facility for their mammogram, the system has implemented comprehensive actions to protect patients from COVID-19, Including:
• All healthcare providers are screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to the start of each shift, and all patients are screened (temperature checks) for COVID-19 prior to entering the facility.
• Rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols. Our outpatient imaging facilities, hospitals, offices, and public areas undergo rigorous cleaning and disinfecting several times per day, in accordance with CDC and DOH infection control guidelines.
• Face masks and the appropriate personal protective equipment are worn by all staff. Patients are also required to bring and wear face masks.
• Modified appointment scheduling to enhance social distancing and to permit extensive cleaning and disinfection of equipment and dressing areas.
“Mammograms can save lives,” said Shavitri A. Mahendiran, MD, Diagnostic Radiologist, Brandywine Hospital Women’s Imaging Center. “Because we know early diagnosis leads to the most effective treatments for patients, it is important to perform monthly self-exams and receive an annual mammogram beginning at age 40.”