SAN ANTONIO – Mammograms catch breast cancer early — don’t skip screenings, advises KSAT Community partner University Health System.
COVID-19 does not directly cause breast cancer, but the pandemic may be indirectly responsible for many women developing more difficult-to-treat tumors, according to University Health System doctors.
Dr. Pamela Otto, the lead radiologist for breast imaging at University Health System, said the initial stay-at-home advisories and ongoing fear of catching COVID-19 have resulted in many women skipping timely mammogram screenings.
Otto, who also chairs the Department of Radiology at UT Health San Antonio, explained mammogram screenings in April 2020 plummeted 89% across the country compared to April 2019. The number of newly diagnosed breast cancers that typically result from those screens dropped 48%.
“There are women with malignant tumors who are not getting early treatment and their cancers are growing,” Otto said. “We know they’re out there. We just haven’t diagnosed