(NBC News) – As Americans catch up on appointments missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, from doctor visits to the dentist to hair salons, health experts are reminding women not to forget mammograms.
A survey this summer by medical technology company Hologic found more than a quarter of women plan to either skip or delay their annual screenings this year.
The consequences could be serious.
The National Cancer Institute estimates there could be 10,000 additional breast and colorectal cancer deaths over the next decade as a result of missed screenings, delayed diagnoses and treatment.
A routine mammogram caught musician Sheryl Crow’s stage one breast cancer in 2006, a screening she’s glad she got.
“Would it have been Stage 2 in six months? It’s possible. In which case, my treatment would have been changed from a lumpectomy and radiation to perhaps chemotherapy or something more dramatic,” she says.
With health care centers taking additional precautions against the spread of COVID-19 including masks, stepped up cleanings and spaced appointments to minimize contact between patients,
the Grammy winner is encouraging women to reschedule missed mammograms or keep upcoming appointments.
“Until we have a cure, this is our greatest weapon,” Crow says.
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