BOZEMAN — The month of October is widely recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, yet the pandemic may have kept some women from their regular screenings.
“I definitely think that we had some patients put off getting their screening exams done,” said Kandy Johnson, women's imaging coordinator at Bozeman Health. “We know with early screening that we can give women more treatment options, and we actually increase their survival rate as well, and just a better quality of life.”
Johnson has worked at the hospital for over 20 years. Johnson details three ways to detect early abnormalities: a self-breast examination, a clinical examination, and a yearly mammogram.
The pandemic has lasted nearly two years, and people working from home, to managing kids learning from home, and quarantining at home are factors that may have lead women to skip a year—or two—worth of examinations.
“It’s estimated in 2021, over 281,000 women will be diagnosed with an invasive breast cancer,” said Claire Kennedy, development manager for Cancer Support Community Montana.
Kennedy notes the importance of screening and accessing assistance.
“It seems like everyone knows someone who has been touched by cancer,” she said.
The Bozeman community has painted Main Street with more than 70 pink banners, the largest banner campaign in its history, and different shops have pink ribbons painted on their storefront to raise awareness of breast cancer this month.