Millions of delayed breast cancer screenings spark push to raise awareness

News 13 Goes Pink

TOPEKA, Kan. — Millions of Americans have delayed breast cancer screenings during the pandemic, and the American Cancer Society estimates 22 million cancer screenings have been lost or canceled.

Kansas activists are working hard to raise awareness about the issue, planning a string of events heading into Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

“Cancer doesn’t take a break for a pandemic, and it is so important to, even during these times, to keep your annual appointment with your doctor, and also get your annual screenings,” said Dawn Robertson, an activist who works with the Race Against Breast Cancer in Topeka. “The earlier the breast cancer is caught, or any cancer is caught, the more treatable it is.”

The organization just wrapped up a 5K marathon event last week to raise awareness and money for breast cancer screenings.

Robertson said the organization has seen less people take advantage of screenings compared to previous years, especially during the pandemic. The organization paid for 487 no-cost mammograms last year. While they originally estimated paying for 500, she said the number of requests is much lower compared to prior to the pandemic.

Robertson said she’s lost family and friends to the disease, some who have suffered from not detecting it early.

“Recently, I lost a family member who had been diagnosed at Stage 4 in their cancer, and they had a hard fight, but it would have been so much better if their cancer would’ve been caught early,” Robertson said.

Robertson said she’s passionate about early detection, and is encouraging others to get their screenings done as soon as possible.

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