ORLANDO, Fla. – Dr. Lisa Minton, a surgeon who specializes in breast cancer care with AdventHealth, explained many patients chose to avoid their annual breast cancer screening within the last year because they were concerned of potential exposure to COVID-19.
“We are anticipating up to 10,000 potentially unnecessary deaths from breast cancer in the next five to seven years just because of the missed screening,” Minton said at a news briefing Thursday.
Minton also mentioned many women, who were economically impacted by the pandemic, were uninsured and some are still dealing with that problem.
“What’s very sad to both hear and see are patients presenting with very advanced cancers who are trying to hold out until they become Medicare eligible because of the financial impact and the economic downturn that we saw in our country,” Minton said.
October is known for breast cancer awareness and Dr. Minton is strongly recommending women who do not have a family history of breast cancer to get screened at the age of 40.
“For those patients who do have family history, we’re recommending, initiating that screening study, 10 years younger than the youngest relative who is diagnosed with breast cancer,” she said.
Thursday’s briefing also comes after the breast cancer diagnoses of Florida’s first lady, Casey DeSantis.
The governor said last week the 41-year-old has already received some early medical treatment for breast cancer.
“We also have, for patients who don’t have any symptoms, the option of getting a screening mammogram, especially during the month of October at a significantly reduced price through AdventHealth,” Minton said.