10TV: Pandemic's Challenges for Breast Cancer Patients
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a variety of challenges to people worldwide, including those wanting to get screened for breast cancer.
"In the start of the pandemic, which was in March 2020 through the end of May 2020, all screening mammograms were suspended,” said Natalie Jones, MD, breast and melanoma surgeon and chair of the OhioHealth breast health program, in an interview with 10TV reporter Lindsey Mills. "It has delayed some diagnoses."
Dr. Jones recommends that women who have lapsed on routine care return to getting screening mammograms and reschedule any appointments that have been postponed our cancelled.
OhioHealth recommends women follow the current National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines:
- Screening mammogram beginning at age 40 for all women
- An annual clinical breast exam by a doctor
- Monthly breast self-exams
- Specific mammogram screening guidelines can be discussed with your OhioHealth physician
Women should talk to their doctors about the screening that is right for their individual needs. Women at high risk for breast cancer may need more frequent or earlier mammogram screening. To find an OhioHealth mammography location convenient for you, please click here.
Dr. Jones told 10TV that the increase in hspitalizations from the delta variant of COVID-19 have led to delays in a certain reconstructive surgery.
"One of the options for women is autologous tissue flap-based reconstruction, we call them deep flaps. Those have been put on hold again now for the third time because it usually requires a 3-day hospitalization," she told 10TV.
The pandemic has led to a positive change for mastectomies, however.
"We've actually figured out through the pandemic how to do most of our mastectomy surgeries even with reconstruction as outpatient surgery,” said Dr. Jones. “So the majority of our patients do not spend the night in the hospital and go home the same day.”
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