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Healthwatch 16: Breast cancer screening

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the American Cancer Society estimates that the pandemic caused a drop in screenings.

DANVILLE, Pa. — According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year in the United States, around 255,000 women get breast cancer. Around 42,000 women die from the disease. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and with that comes a big push to get mammograms.

"My availability for appointments, I have seen that kind of come down, which is great. My schedule is full. Women are coming, so that's great," said Gina Markle, Geisinger Medical Center's mammography team leader.

Markle says because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a temporary reduction in mammograms at Geisinger last year.

"But across our organization, all the sites have really increased their capacity to accommodate those who were overdue or those who were just coming due."

There has been a drop in breast cancer screenings nationwide since last year. The American Cancer Society estimates that 22 million cancer screenings were canceled at the start of the pandemic.

Markle says that is not the case at Geisinger.

"Our analytics team actually showed a less than 1 percent decrease in mammography screenings between 2020 to 2021, so we're definitely on track despite that temporary reduction in 2020."

Credit: WNEP
Geisinger Mobile Mammography Services

Breast cancer screenings are recommended for women age 40 and up. In addition to its hospitals, Geisinger has a mobile mammography unit.

"It is a fully capable mammography unit. It is no different than what a patient would get in a hospital or clinic setting. It goes to Mountain Top, Kingston, Pottsville, and Shamokin."

Geisinger recommends talking to your doctor about scheduling a screening.

Get more information here.

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