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Local hospital pushing for women to get back on track with breast health

BSW is urging women to catch up on mammograms skipped due to the pandemic
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:14 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - An alarming national trend caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is being mirrored locally.

Officials at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Breast Center in Waco say, at the height of the pandemic, a concerning number of their patients skipped their yearly mammograms.

“In the height of the pandemic our numbers suffered, there was a period of time where we were no longer doing screenings of course, and then once we were coming back we were doing diagnostics, ladies that were having problems,” said Michelle Wilson, Breast Center Manager at BSW-Hillcrest. “So it was just getting ladies to feel comfortable once we started to open back up, coming in and taking care of their breast health.”

Wilson says thousands of local women need to play catch-up.

“One in eight are the number of women that are going to get diagnosed with breast cancer, so that’s scary whenever I think we had like 2,500 women that were delinquent by the time we came back from the height of the pandemic.”

Now they’re pushing women to get back on track with their breast health by extending hours and purchasing a fourth mammogram machine.

“We needed the another machine, we needed the addition of the new technology, and just trying to get all these women in here, it just made sense,” said Wilson. “It was good timing.”

The Breast Center is now open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays.

“We’re doing this to try to accommodate these busy women and get them in and make sure they’re taking care of their breast health,” said Williams.

The newest mammogram machine is their second 3D machine.

“It’s taking slices through the breast tissue so we can see cancer smaller, we can see through denser breast tissue, it’s just an amazing technology,” said Wilson.

Technology Judith Taylor, of Whitney, says saved her life.

“I came this year in March, and that’s when they found a lump,” said Taylor. “I was just very fortunate I caught it as early as I did, because it was Stage 1A.”

Taylor says she’s been on top of getting her annual mammograms since she turned 40.

“A lot of us have got it and don’t know it,” said Taylor. “I got the 3D one, no it doesn’t hurt, it’s not comfortable but you’re only in there for a few seconds, and my recovery was quick, I was out of work only two weeks, if I hadn’t caught it, I don’t know what would have happened.”

Wilson says early detection is key.

“You need to start screening every year after the year 40, early detection is what saves lives,” said Wilson.

She says nothing, not even the pandemic should stop women from getting mammograms, so they’re willing to make special accommodations, like opening early, for women who are scared.

“Some ladies have just expressed that fear and we address it and talk them through it and keep them as safe as possible and still get their mammogram,” said Wilson.

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