JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – There has been a decline of women going to their doctors to get mammograms and annual checkups amid the coronavirus pandemic. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women. Survivors and doctors encouraged women to set their fears aside and see their doctors.
Shirlette Judon was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2007. She said the disease has affected other family members.
“Before I was even born, my maternal grandmother had been diagnosed, but she lived several years. But what made me really become more aware of it was when my mom’s sister was diagnosed and she succumbed to breast cancer. So that made me take a stance and be more aware of my body,” Judon explained.
During the pandemic, not as many women have been coming to the doctor or getting a mammogram, which could be a dangerous decision.
“I understand, early on, that women were very afraid to come in, but we’re trying to encourage women to come for their annual exams and come for their mammograms, because this is a part of taking care of their health,” said Dr. Rhonda Sullivan-Ford, with Lakeland Premier Women’s Clinic.
She said women shouldn’t forget about doing their monthly breast exams.
“The more you do your exams, you’ll understand your own breast tissue. And if something pops up that’s not supposed to be there, you’ll know it and be able to call your doctor.”
Men should also pay attention to their breasts.
“Men can have a lump in their breast. They can have a change in the breast tissue. They can have discharge from the nipple. So the signs and symptoms are very similar to women.”
If patients have dense breasts, Dr. Sullivan-Ford said they should check with their doctor about new tests.
“If a woman has dense breast, there is a new technique that can detect tumors that may not have been picked up with a mammogram.”