Advanced breast cancer diagnoses rose during the pandemic as millions missed cancer screenings

Stage 4 breast cancer cases up from 1.9% to 6.2%
Ascension Saint Thomas Mobile Mammography Bus
Posted at 3:57 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 07:56:36-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Millions missed cancer screenings during the pandemic, and unfortunately, that could be why there has been more stage four breast cancer diagnoses.

The number of new advanced cases jumped up the first year of the pandemic from 1.9% to 6.2%, according to Jama Network Open.

According to breast surgeon Dr. Lisa Bellin with Ascension Medical Group, if a woman misses two or three annual screenings, she should get a mammogram as soon as possible. Breast cancer diagnosed at a later stage usually requires more treatment, like a mastectomy.

On Tuesday, Ascension Saint Thomas parked its mobile mammography coach bus at an Amazon fulfillment center to screen female workers for breast cancer. The company requested the unit for Women's History Month.

"Getting those results, I mean you're nervous until you get them, but when you get a clean bill of health you're just like, OK I'm good," said Jennifer Snowden, an Amazon operations manager. "Then the next year rolls around and you're not as scared to go in for the testing."

Since the pandemic started, millions have put off their yearly checks. In 2020 alone, more than 9.5 million Americans missed cancer screenings, according to the Biden Administration.

Glenda Kimbell, another Amazon worker, said the convenient cancer screening was key.

"Far too often, we are so busy, and we get caught up with work and school and kids, and we don't take time for ourselves to make sure we're being taken care of," said Glenda Kimbell. "It was super convenient for people like me who are really busy, and to just make an appointment without even thinking about it."

To schedule the mobile unit to visit your business, call Ascension Saint Thomas at 615-284-6266 or email