A doctor assists a woman undergoing a mammogram x-ray test. (Photo by Tyler Olson/Shutterstock)

Women are being urged to resume their annual breast cancer screenings now that coronavirus is no longer overwhelming medical facilities on Long Island.

Since the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are more manageable than during the recent peak, the risk of potentially catching the virus no longer requires putting off cancer screenings, officials said.

“Since this pandemic began, our residents … have been urged to delay routine mammograms while on lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. “Those days are over. We encourage you now … to get tested.” 

Cancer screenings are dangerously low, with screenings for breast, colon, and cervical cancer having dropped between 86 and 94 percent, officials said. Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in New York State. 

“We are so better off today, [but] I fear we are going to go backwards,” warned Geri Barish, executive director of Hewlett House and president of Breast Cancer Action Coalition. 

Barish encouraged patients to put their trust back into the hospitals and resume their testing, noting that people should not have to choose between cancer or coronavirus. 

For those unable to make it to a clinic, the Nassau University Medical Center offers a mobile breast cancer screening vehicle.

“Behind me is a state-of-the-art mammogram van…for easy access for our patients to get screenings,” said NUMC CEO Dr. Anthony Boutin. 

The mammovan is for those who still feel uncomfortable entering a hospital, even though hospitals across Nassau are taking significant sanitization measures. The mammovan is a highly accessible, low-cost service equipped with 3D screening technology.

“Don’t let the fear of COVID keep you from getting the care you need that could end up saving your life,” said Curran.

Related Story: Healthcare Systems Offer Expert Breast Cancer Care to Long Islanders

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