Why You Need Your End of the Year Breast Cancer Screenings

by | Nov 30, 2020 | Breast Cancer

Don’t let covid-19 put your breast health in jeopardy. Do your monthly self-exam and get your regular breast cancer screening with a mammogram.

If you do face a breast cancer diagnosis, CyberKnife treatment may be the answer for you.

If you’ve been putting off your mammogram screening because of COVID-19 fears, research shows delaying your appointment may be downright dangerous to your health.  

As 2020 comes to an end, now is the time for your annual mammogram.  

According to Norman Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, the delay in screening and treatment because of the pandemic could lead to more deaths from breast cancer. 

In fact, Sharpless said new estimates show there will be more than 10,000 breast and colorectal cancer deaths over the next decade because of pandemic-related delays in screening and treatment.

The Dangers of Waiting for your Breast Screening

Two studies released this summer are case in point to the troubling trend. 

The first study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital surveyed 534 people online to ask about delays in breast cancer screening and concerns over the pandemic.  

  • Of those surveyed, 46.1% had a prior breast cancer diagnosis.
  • 5.4% were in the process of dealing with a diagnosis.
  • More than one quarter of those who answered the survey said they had a delay in healthcare, including nearly 32% of those who were diagnosed with breast cancer. Of that group 22% reported a delay in screening and 9.3% reported a delay in treatment.
  • According to the survey, nearly 27% of those who had never been diagnosed with breast cancer also reported a delay in care, including screening.

The second study from the University of Massachusetts Medical School looked at records of more than 80,000 women who had not been diagnosed with breast cancer and compared screenings from the first half of 2019 to the first half of 2020. It found screenings for breast cancer decreased dramatically from 2019 to 2020.  

  • On average 13.6 2D mammograms per 1,000 women were completed per month from January to May of 2019. 
  • That’s compared to 6.1 per 1,000 women completed in March of 2020, 0.25 per 1,000 women in April of 2020, and 1.1 per 1,000 women in May of 2020.
  • For 3D mammograms, an average of 34.7 per 1,000 women were completed per month from January to May of 2019.
  • For 2020, 14.6 3D mammograms per 1,000 women were done in March of 2020, 1.4 per 1,000 women in April of 2020 and 1.5 per 1,000 women in May of 2020.

Breast biopsies during the same time frame in 2019 to 2020 also decreased.

  • From January to May of 2019 the study reported an average of 0.9 breast biopsies per 1,000 women per month. 
  • In March of 2020 there were 0.8 breast biopsies completed per 1,000 women.  In April of 2020 0.4 per 1,000 women, and in May of 2020 0.1 per 1,000 women.

Don’t Put Off Your Mammogram Because Of Covid-19 Fears

That’s why it’s important for women to return to preventative care, and the end of the year is a good time to do that so you can start 2021 with a clear picture of your breast health. 

Breast cancer screenings matter.

And screening centers are taking steps to make patient safety a priority.  

Check with your doctor and your local imaging center about the precautions their offices are taking.  Those safety measures should include COVID-19 patient screenings, temperature checks, mask requirements and enhanced cleaning.

If you are facing a breast cancer diagnosis, choices of care and treatment can be overwhelming.  

The Cyberknife Center Of Miami:  Breast Cancer Treatment Near Me

But you have choices in care. If you are looking for breast cancer treatment near Miami or near where you live in South Florida, The CyberKnife Center of Miami may be an option for you. 

The CyberKnife Center of Miami is a state-of the-art cancer treatment center in Miami. 

Why Cyberknife?

CyberKnife offers a safer, faster way to treat breast cancer with outstanding tumor control, improved cosmetic results, less radiation exposure to surrounding tissue, including the heart and lungs, reducing the risk of damage to those vital organs.

Plus, it’s done in a much shorter time period, decreasing the number of radiation treatments from about 35 over weeks to just 5 treatment sessions done over a few days. That’s important, especially right now.

The treatment is called Stereotactic Partial-Breast Radiation, and CyberKnife Miami was one of the first cancer centers in South Florida to offer this treatment.

For more than a decade, radiation oncologists have been using CyberKnife Radiation Therapy instead of standard radiation to treat early-stage breast cancer and found it to be just as safe and effective.

A shorter, effective treatment is critical, especially for busy patients who find it difficult to drop everything going on in their lives, including work for treatment. With CyberKnife they don’t have to.

Radiation therapy following a lumpectomy is commonly recommended to destroy potential residual cancer.

CyberKnife Miami’s Medical Director and board-certified radiation oncologist, Dr. Mark Pomper explains how it works:

 “CyberKnife therapy delivers high doses of radiation, from hundreds of angles with extreme accuracy, targeting only the tumor site. There are no incisions of the skin needed. The CyberKnife stops at very specific points to target the tumor. Conventional radiation therapy must target much larger areas of normal breast tissue beyond the tumor. In fact, CyberKnife uses imaging cameras and the Synchrony® Respiratory Tracking System to track the movement of the lesion as the patient breathes normally. This reduces the risk of hitting and damaging nearby healthy tissue and organs including the heart and lungs.”

When the amount of radiation to the heart and lungs is decreased, so is the risk of developing side effects such as heart disease, reduced lung function, or secondary cancer. 

CyberKnife is especially helpful to women who have developed cancer in the left breast, since it is situated so close to the heart. However, whether cancer develops in the right or left breast, CyberKnife is safer because it decreases the amount of radiation the heart and lungs receive.

It’s also safer for women with smaller breasts because it targets only the tumor site, resulting in less damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

Breast Cancer Treatment and Covid-19

And if you are worried about COVID-19 during treatment at CyberKnife Center of Miami, rest assured, our facility is committed to our patients’ safety and to treating your cancer.  Our priority is treating your cancer with compassion while making sure we keep you safe.

Remember the sooner you screen, the sooner you can breathe a sigh of relief if everything is normal.  But if your screening shows an abnormality, you can take action sooner by finding a cancer treatment center near you and a plan that fits your needs.  

Call CyberKnife Miami now to Treat Breast Cancer: 305-279-2900 and go to our website now www.cyberknifemiami.com.  We can help guide you through this difficult diagnosis during this challenging time.