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Don’t skip a screening: A mammogram could save your life

Contact:  
Victoria Palacio
(631) 548-6804
vpalacio1@northwell.edu

RIVERHEAD, NY – The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic put a halt on many types of routine medical care, including breast cancer screenings. As breast cancer awareness month comes to a close, the Cancer Services Program of Suffolk County (CSP), a program of Peconic Bay Medical Center (PBMC), is urging women to talk to their health care providers about scheduling their mammograms. The CSP helps uninsured women get free mammograms.

“The current pandemic doesn’t change the fact that one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in her lifetime,” said Amy E. Loeb, executive director of Peconic Bay Medical Center. “Our Cancer Services Program strongly encourages any woman who had to cancel her mammogram to get it back on her calendar for this year.”

PBMC’s Cancer Services Program provides breast cancer screening to women ages 40 and older without health insurance all throughout Suffolk County. The program is regionally acclaimed for its proactive approach to patient care, supporting women through every step of the process, from initial screening through creating an individualized, state-of-the-art cancer treatment plan.

The impact of COVID-19 on breast cancer screening and diagnosis isn’t fully known, but one study published in May of 2020 by EPIC Health Research Network showed that breast cancer screening decreased by as much as 94 percent. Getting a mammogram regularly is the best way to find breast cancer early, when it may be easiest to treat. This delay in screening could mean that some breast cancers go undetected in earlier stages.

“The recommendation to postpone non-essential health care visits during the height of the pandemic made perfect sense, but now is the time to get back to life-saving cancer screenings, which includes regular mammograms,” said Maureen O’Connor, director of the Cancer Services Program of Suffolk County at Peconic Bay Medical Center. “The CSP is here to serve our community with education about breast cancer and to provide breast cancer screening to women who are uninsured.”

Residents of Suffolk County can call Peconic Bay Medical Center’s CSP at (631) 548-6320 or visit pbmchealth.org/getscreened for more information about services and programs. In addition to breast cancer screenings, the CSP provides cervical cancer screening to women ages 40 and older, colon cancer screening to men and women ages 45 and older and prostate cancer screenings for men 50 and older.

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About Peconic Bay Medical Center

Located in Riverhead, NY, Peconic Bay Medical Center is a 200-bed nonprofit hospital committed to providing exceptional care and improving the health of the communities it serves. Peconic Bay Medical Center offers wide-ranging, full-scope services and programs, including advanced surgical, cardiac, orthopedic and women's health care, comprehensive inpatient medical care, palliative care and an extensive range of outpatient services, along with state-of-the-art technology. Peconic Bay Medical Center joined Northwell Health in 2016. For more information, visit PBMCHealth.org and follow us @PeconicBayMedicalCenter on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.