Safely Get Screened for Breast and Cervical CancerPosted on by
Many of our normal life rhythms were disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve had to make minor decisions, like “What show should I watch tonight?” We also had to make major decisions like “What should I do about my routine health care appointments?”
COVID-19 has had a significant effect on people going to the doctor for routine checkups and preventive care, including cancer screenings. As COVID-19 cases increased, many places where people receive cancer screening closed and cancer screenings were canceled or delayed. Additionally, stay-at-home recommendations and the fear of getting COVID-19 also impacted their ability and willingness to get routine care. A recent CDC-authored study found declines in cancer screenings during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- In April 2020, cancer screenings done through CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program declined by 87% for breast cancer screening and 84% for cervical cancer screening, compared with the previous 5-year averages for that month.
- From January through June 2020, the greatest declines in screening were among American Indian and Alaska Native women for breast cancer screening (98% decline) and Asian and Pacific Islander women for cervical cancer screening (92% decline), compared with the previous 5-year averages. Though still below average, increased numbers of screening tests were noted at the end of the study period.
Return to Screening
Regular screening tests may find breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers early. Colorectal and cervical cancer screenings can find precancers that can be removed to help prevent cancer. Lung cancer screening can also find cancer early for some people who are at high risk. If you’ve fallen behind on your cancer screenings, please schedule an appointment today. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Getting screening tests regularly can remove precancers and may find cancer early, when treatment is likely to work best.
- Free or low-cost cervical and breast cancer screening is available. Find out if you qualify.
- Your health care provider likely has precautions in place to help you stay safe. You can call ahead of time to learn about those safety measures.
- Finding time to care for yourself may be more difficult now, but taking care of yourself is a great way to take care of the others in your life, too.
Screening saves lives. Learn more about cancer screening in the resources below.