Maybe it’s not that surprising that a recent CDC study revealed that four of 10 US adults have put off regular medical care because of their COVID-19-related concerns. The study’s authors found that as of June 30, 41 percent of adults delayed or avoided medical care. This includes emergency care, urgent care and routine care.
The trend was more prevalent among family caregivers for adults, individuals with underlying medical conditions, Black adults, Hispanic or Latino adults, young adults and individuals with disabilities.
What we don’t know, and may not know for a long time, is what affect this will have on these individuals’ long-term health.
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, we at Winona Health encourage you to take care of yourself, not only by taking precautions to prevent the spread of viruses, but also by staying up-to-date with chronic health issue management and preventive care such as screening for breast cancer.
According to the most recent data, Winona County falls seven-percent below the state’s average of 76 percent of women age 40 and older getting screening mammograms. Too many women are missing an opportunity to catch and treat breast cancer in its earliest, most easily treatable stage. We don’t know why a lower percentage of eligible women in our area seek screening, but we continue to do what we can to ensure all women are aware of, and have access to, this important screening. If there is a woman age 40 or older in your life who is due for a mammogram (every one or two years depending on her health care provider’s recommendation), please encourage her to get screened.
As our mammography team is quick to share, most mammograms result in peace of mind and a self-care “to do,” to check off your list. But because early diagnosis increases treatment options and reduces the risk of breast-cancer-related death, breast cancer screening is crucial. In addition, breast cancer treatment and survival rates have improved, and detecting it before it’s advanced, will likely lead to less disruption to your life.
Cost should not be a barrier to getting this important screening. Most insurance programs currently cover mammography as a preventive health care service. However, for those who need it, the SAGE program or our Winona Health Foundation’s Patient Care Fund may be options for those who are putting off this important screening because of cost.
One last note, at Winona Health, it’s safety first, and we have all appropriate safety precautions in place. It is safe to come in to receive all of the care, including preventive screenings, you need at Winona Health.