Mammogram screening

A woman receives a mammogram screening for early detection of breast cancer at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center where 3D screenings are offered for $50 during October.

When medical professionals hear the words “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” this October, the concern that is weighing heavily for many of them is the delay of screening mammograms. 

Postponed appointments over the past 18 months may have been caused by several factors, including fear of contracting COVID-19 in a health care setting, or economic factors such as loss of health insurance or finances during the pandemic. 

Whatever the reasons behind this downward shift in screening frequencies, doctors worry about the repercussions and want to steer women to correct this shift before it results in a dramatic spike in later stage diagnoses, and by nature an increase in breast cancer related deaths.

“In 2021, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center has seen a 25 percent decrease in women scheduling an annual screening mammogram for breast cancer. That’s more than 1,000 women in our region who are late in receiving this vital health screening,” said Paul Reisch, M.D. and medical director of the hospital’s Breast Health Center. 

Dr. Reisch advises women who have deferred their annual mammogram during the pandemic to schedule an appointment. 

Health care facilities are taking extra steps to keep patients safe during mammogram visits and choosing to get a mammogram is the healthy choice. This is what Breast Cancer Awareness Month is all about: spreading the word about how mammograms and early detection quite literally save lives. 

Breast cancer is a devastating disease and the second most common cancer among women. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. 

That’s one person every two minutes in the U.S. 

But there is hope. Thanks to increases in early detection and more effective treatments, the breast cancer mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 diagnosed) has decreased by 41 percent since 1989. 

In women who are over 40 or at a high risk of developing breast cancer, annual screening mammograms are crucial to early detection and diagnosis, which can lead to more treatment options and successful health outcomes.

Column contributed by Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, which is offering $50 3D mammography appointments in October – no doctor’s orders or insurance required. Call (909) 469-9395 to schedule an appointment at the Breast Health Center in Pomona, or at the Pomona Valley Health Centers in Chino Hills, Claremont, or La Verne.

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