Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, non-urgent breast care screenings and mammograms at Intermountain facilities had to be rescheduled due to safety restrictions. Women with urgent needs were able to be seen, but others had put off their annual screening.
Now that restrictions have been lifted and mammography screening services are back to normal, doctors are urging women to schedule their mammograms.
“Even though we took a break during the pandemic, breast cancer doesn’t.” said Brett Parkinson, MD, medical director of Intermountain Healthcare’s Breast Care Center. “So, we need to take care of these women and not delay treatment.”
Caregivers are taking several steps to ensure patient safety when coming in for a screening. In order to maintain social distancing, there will be limits on the number of people in the waiting room. To achieve this, caregivers will limit the number of appointments happening at one time.
To ensure there are enough screening appointments, facilities will expand and adopt flexible hours as needed to accommodate demand so that women can receive a mammogram when it’s more convenient. Caregivers are also taking extra precautions to sanitize rooms and imaging equipment in between every visit.
Intermountain’s two mobile mammogram units are also back in service in several areas around the state that don’t have nearby access to imaging. Dr. Parkinson reminds women that an annual mammogram is one of the best ways for early detection and treatment of breast cancer.
Women in in the United States currently have a one in eight chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in U.S. women. However, Utah’s rate of women who undergo mammogram screening annually is one of the lowest in the nation.
To schedule a mammogram, call 801-507-7840, or visit intermountainhealthcare.org/mammogram