BANGOR- Nationwide, people have been skipping breast cancer screenings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s also the case here in Maine.
Time is of the essence when it comes to certain healthcare checkups.
That was the case for Katrina Lajoie, a breast cancer thriver.
“I had a mammogram the year before which was negative. A little over a month later, I found a lump,” Lajoie said. “Knowing my body, I knew something was wrong and I immediately called my doctor.”
Because of that, Lajoie had more treatment options and a higher chance of recovery.
“A woman who’s detected with her breast cancer early has a 98% chance of living longer beyond 5 years,” said Dr. Sarah Irving, the director of Family Medicine and Residency at Northern Light. “A woman who has breast cancer at a stage that’s already progressed throughout her body, that survival is only 26%.”
According to the Cancer Network, the number of people getting mammograms nationwide was down 90% for the first quarter of this year compared to last year’s.
Irving said that’s also been the case here in Maine.
“Breast cancer is one of the most common cancer to be diagnosed in woman in the US and is the second leading cause of cancer in the US,” Irving explained. “Only second to lung cancer.”
She adds women over the age of 50 or those with a family history of breast cancer are in a higher risk category.
They should be getting screened every two years.
“If you are anxious about a lump you find, the one thing you have control over is calling your doctor, getting a mammogram, and not putting it off” Lajoie said. “In this world and crazy times, it’s something you can control.”