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Doctors urge women to keep up on cancer screenings during COVID-19

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MADISON (WKOW) -- When COVID-19 first arrived in Wisconsin, many routine medical appointments like mammograms and other cancer screenings were delayed to help area health systems prepare for a potential surge of patients.

Now that local hospitals have resumed many clinical services, doctors are urging patients to get back on schedule with routine screenings.

“In general, it’s okay to put those things off for a little while, but you don’t want to put them off indefinitely,” says Dr. Dana Henkel, a surgeon at SSM Health Dean Medical Group.

The best method of detecting breast cancer is annual mammograms. Dr. Henkel says by getting yearly screenings, the radiologist who reads the mammogram can see subtle changes that may prompt additional testing and an early diagnosis. An early diagnosis typically means the tumor is still small enough that you can’t feel it. Dr. Henkel says early detection is important because it can provide a better outcome.

“As we catch things earlier, we have smaller tumors that are less likely to spread,” she says. “We also have the ability to do smaller surgeries sometimes.”

SSM Health says all local clinics and hospitals continue to follow CDC recommendations; screen all patients, visitors and staff upon entering our facilities. Details on their current precautions are available at ssmhealth.com.

Emily Friese

27 News Producer

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