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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Health care officials urge women not to delay mammograms

Posted at 2:07 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-07 19:38:25-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into its sixth month, health officials are reminding people not to forget about other ways they can make sure to stay healthy.

And with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, they are urging women to get mammograms.

“It really is our greatest tool to prevent or catch breast cancer early,” said Dr. Erin Burke, an assistant professor of surgery and surgical oncologist with UK HealthCare.

Burke said remembering to get screened is especially important right now during a time when everyone has a lot on their plate.

“Our early-stage breast cancers have a survival rate of greater than 98 percent," she said. "Catching them early by getting your screening mammogram allows us to put our patients in that group and treat them to the best of our ability.”

Burke said now is a great time to make that appointment, because waiting even a few months to a year could rapidly make things worse.

“Delaying that screening can result in that cancer being at a higher stage, meaning more advanced or potentially spreading,” she said.

Typically, women should get a yearly mammogram starting at age 40, but some may have to get screened earlier if they face a higher risk, such as having a family history of breast cancer.

The first step is talking with your primary healthcare provider or contacting a screening mammography center.