October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Doylestown Health Women’s Diagnostic Center would like to remind our community that despite these challenging times, regular mammograms should be a priority. Mammograms can detect breast abnormalities that a self-examination might not. And early detection of breast cancer leads to more successful treatment.
While routine screenings were shut down for six weeks in 2020 due to the coronavirus, all Doylestown Health patients were promptly rescheduled. The Women’s Diagnostic Center implemented enhanced safety protocols and expanded hours to accommodate any missed appointments from the shutdown. New appointments continue to be available.
The Importance of Breast Cancer Screenings
Women’s Diagnostic Center Medical Director Michele Kopach, MD says, “The importance of screening cannot be overstated. Breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death among women.”
The pandemic closure gave the diagnostic center the opportunity to conduct a patient study. Dr. Kopach reports, “We found that 66% of breast cancers were identified through routine mammograms rather than by the appearance of a new symptom.”
Is it Safe to Get a Mammogram During the Pandemic?
Yes! Doylestown Health has set high standards to ensure that patients can receive their preventative screenings in a healthy environment. Here are some of the safety protocols in place:
- Masking . Doylestown Health requires that everyone in their facilities be masked.
- Social distancing. Expanded hours allow for fewer patients to be in the office at a time. Patients change in their exam room instead of a changing room, so that they are separated from others.
- Controlled traffic pattern. Patients enter the Women’s Diagnostic Center one way and exit another way.
- Cleaning procedures. The Women’s Diagnostic Center has always had strict cleaning procedures, and the mammogram equipment is thoroughly sterilized in between patients.
- High-risk patients. The Women’s Diagnostic Center can accommodate patients who are older, immunocompromised, or have other serious health problems. Clinical Manager Susan DeLuca says, “We are willing to bring patients in early in the morning or later in the evening if they feel that they’re susceptible.”
COVID-19 Vaccination and the Mammogram
Some women may develop swollen lymph nodes after being vaccinated for COVID-19. This is a normal immune response to a vaccine. However, swollen lymph nodes can skew mammogram results. Therefore, Doylestown Health follows the Society of Breast Imaging guidelines which recommend scheduling a mammogram four to six weeks after the last shot.
How to Schedule a Mammogram with Doylestown Health
Doylestown Health offers mammograms at Doylestown Hospital and at The Health and Wellness Center in Warrington. There are two ways to make an appointment:
- Call Central Scheduling at 215-345-2274.
- Request an appointment online.
Free Mammograms for the Underinsured
Doylestown Health has become an official partner in the PA Department of Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (PA-BCCEDP) and will serve as the main provider in the Central and Upper Bucks regions. Pennsylvania residents who meet age, income and insurance requirements will be able to receive free mammograms and follow-up diagnostics for any abnormal screening results.
To confirm eligibility and schedule screenings, community members can contact Amy Stein at 267-885-1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
About Doylestown Health
Doylestown Health is a comprehensive healthcare system of inpatient, outpatient and wellness education services connected to meet the health needs of all members of the local and regional community. Doylestown Hospital, the flagship to Doylestown Health has 247 beds and a Medical Staff of more than 435 physicians in over 50 specialties. An independent nonprofit health system, Doylestown Health is dedicated to providing innovative, patient-centered care for all ages.