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More Screenings Urged At Start Of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and screenings are being urged now more than ever. CDC statistics show a drop in screenings during the pandemic.

"I'm 22 years old," Bianca Hernandez said.

Hernandez remembers finding out that her mother had breast cancer in 7th grade.

"I understood what having breast cancer means for a family, for a woman and how important it is that you get screened early."

Fortunately, through treatment, her mom survived, but now knowing that history, Hernandez has to be careful not to miss any screenings.

"Working on the healthcare side of things I think we're seeing a lot of women who have breast cancer who actually test positive for the BRCA gene and we also find that their daughters have to be screened much earlier."

A CDC report showed that the total number of breast cancer tests by women through an early detection program declined by 87% in April of 2020, compared with data prior, from the past 5-year average.

"Cause even if the women wanted the mammogram, there were no imaging centers where they could image them because they were closed," Dr. Jane Mendez, Miami Cancer Institute Chief of Surgery said.

Of course, things have reopened, but some may have kept putting it off.

"In some underserved communities you don't have time to get your mammogram, because you're working really hard, you're working three jobs," she explained.

To help raise awareness during this month, Baptist Health in conjunction with the Miami Cancer Institute has sponsored a truck to be driven around carrying key facts, in hopes that people will get checked. Some stops will include areas lacking in healthcare access.

"Because the best defense we have against breast cancer is right here in our hands, if you don't know what's normal to you how do you know if something has changed," Dr. Mendez said.

Around 40 women need to schedule a mammogram, and don't forget, men can also get breast cancer. The best way to beat cancer is catching it early, but it's never too soon to learn how to do self exams.

"Every week if you can if you're in the shower, a quick simple self-exam might save your life.

To learn more about a mammogram, click here.

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