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Health center encourages women to resume mammogram screenings

Annual mammograms are recommended for all women starting at age 40.
Mammogram machine.
Mammogram machine.(WLUC)
Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 4:59 PM EDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WLUC) - Doctors say the pandemic has led many women to cancel their mammogram appointments in the past year, but Radiologist John Pietila, M.D. with Aspirus Health said it’s time to get back to regular scheduling.

”We would encourage women who put off their routine health care due to the pandemic to come back in,” Dr. Pietila said.

According to the CDC, over 90,000 women have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the Upper Peninsula.

Dr. Pietila recommends getting a mammogram before getting vaccinated or four to six weeks after your final dose.

”Women who have gotten the vaccine will get lymph nodes in the axilla or armpit that are enlarged as a result to a normal response to the vaccine,” Dr. Pietila said. “That can cause us to basically call them back or bring them back for more imaging.”

However, he said any women who notice any changes or feel a concerning lump, should get screened right away.

”Either something that the doctor felt or something that they felt themselves, both need to be investigated.”

Mammograms can detect cancer years in advance and help prevent the worst from happening.

”If we find early calcifications,” Dr. Pietila said. “It may be a year to maybe even several years prior to the patient developing a breast cancer that they would have been able to feel.”

Annual mammograms are recommended for all women starting at age 40. Men should get a screening if they feel any abnormal lumps or experience discharge of the breast.

Results are received typically within 24 hours.

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