Clinicians Concerned About Women Continuing to Put Off Their Annual Mammograms

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Author: Sherry Farney

October is nationally recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this year extra emphasis is being placed on reminding women of the importance of getting their annual screening mammogram.

There have been sharp declines in breast screenings during the ongoing pandemic, according to a June 30 press release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The total number of cancer screening tests received by women through CDC’s National Breast Early Detection Program declined by 87% for breast cancer during April 2020 as compared with the previous 5-year average for the month.

It’s certainly something that concerns clinicians like Linda Lawrence, MD, board-certified radiologist and medical director at the McLaren Flint Imaging Center, and Ashley Richardson, DO, breast surgeon at McLaren Flint.

“Patients delaying their screenings causes delays in diagnosis,” said Dr. Lawrence. “Don’t be afraid to get your breast screening done during this time. We continue to follow guidelines to make sure our patients receive safe care. We have the best equipment for a clear picture of breast tissue, leading to earlier detections of cancer, which in turn leads to better outcomes.”

That equipment includes 3D mammography available at the McLaren Flint Imaging Center and McLaren Fenton, as well as breast MRI available now at McLaren Flint- MRI and coming this fall to McLaren Fenton. The 3D mammography technology used is clinically proven to significantly increase the detection of breast cancers, while simultaneously decreasing the number of women asked to return for additional testing. It is also the only 3D mammography exam approved by the FDA as superior for women with dense breasts.

“Fortunately, we have amazing technology like MRI to help us screen for cancer in the breast should we need to do so,” said Dr. Richardson. “This technology can be used in conjunction with a mammogram for women who are high risk for breast cancer. For those already diagnosed with cancer, it can help us measure the tumor size and check for other tumors in both breasts. Like Dr. Lawrence, I highly encourage women to catch up on a missed mammogram; we want everyone to have the best outcome possible.”

McLaren Flint Imaging Center, McLaren Flint-MRI and McLaren Fenton are American College of Radiology (ACR) accredited facilities. Every aspect of the ACR accreditation process is overseen by board-certified, expert radiologists and medical physicists in advanced diagnostic imaging.

Women 40 and over should be receiving routine breast mammograms. If you have a strong history of breast cancer, especially a first-degree relative who has had the disease, you should have your first mammogram ten years prior to the age that relative was diagnosed.

Learn more about McLaren Flint and McLaren Fenton’s 3D mammography exams and schedule your appointment online today at