On March 23, 2020, as the pandemic was rearing its ugly head in my area, the Susan G. Komen organization wrote, “Healthy women at average risk for breast cancer should postpone routine screening mammograms during the coronavirus crisis.” This was consistent with the American Cancer Association’s (ACA) recommendations a t that time. Since July 2, the ACA has reverted to encouraging women to seek mammograms, with the exception that some women could wait two years. I am in the category of every two years, but I am SO GLAD I DIDN’T WAIT!
With breast cancer being the second biggest killer of women, I ADAMANTLY oppose the newer guidelines. It is with a sad & heavy heart to write that I have just been officially diagnosed with breast cancer – ME, a LACTATIONCONSULTANT, who breastfed, how ironic! I had no symptoms & thought I was at low risk.
Since I was already scheduled pre-lockdown for my annual, I got in soon after my OBGYN practice re-opened – about 2 months after the initial appointment, followed by getting a mammogram, or two, or three (total) as it turned out! The subsequent ultrasound is when I knew the situation was bad, though the mass could not be felt by me nor the nurse practitioner, & even my breast surgeon had a hard time finding it, as it is deep. I was told that my biggest risk factor was having my first child at 29 years of age. Who knew!? 29 is about the average age for a woman to have her first child, & this age is getting pushed later thanks to the difficulties nowadays in finishing college & starting a career. NOW, there’s a pandemic to contend with!
But please don’t be afraid to take care of your health – just be smart about it! The health care providers I have experienced are doing an excellent job at keeping everyone safe with wearing masks, socially distancing, & hand washing. The people, who end up getting the COVID, are not adhering to CDC guidelines, which is different from political guidelines! Usually, they are frequenting bars or large indoor house parties. So please be conscientious of who you are with, practice the CDC guidelines, & take care of yourself!