Grammy-award winning artist Sheryl Crow is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in 2006, and since being in remission, has worked to raise awareness about the importance of early detection.
Life looks very different right now. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had to adjust to quarantine or step up to serve our communities as essential workers. And many of us are struggling with the impact of these changes – especially women, who are experiencing an increased burden, as we have been required to take on even more stress and responsibility in our home and professional lives.
Times like these remind us what’s really important in life – love, family and living life in harmony. Like many of you, I’ve been home over the past few months – helping my sons navigate online schooling and generally looking for ways to find peace and joy amidst the unknown. Part of my quarantine routine has included practicing mindful meditation and gratitude – something we need now more than ever. I’ve also been seeking out ways to make a difference by using my music and platform to better our world. During this moment in our history when there are so many challenges to overcome, I’ve found it’s especially important to support others and give back wherever we are able.
Through my advocacy work, I was devastated to learn the National Cancer Institute anticipates there could be more than 10,000 additional deaths in our country as a result of delays in breast and colorectal cancer screenings due to COVID-19. In fact, a recent survey, conducted by Hologic, found that 27% of compliant women reported plans to either skip or delay their mammogram in 2020. That’s a problem, because it greatly increases the interval between screenings for those women, which may result in cancer being found later, when it’s harder to treat.
Fortunately, over the past several weeks, health facilities across the nation have begun opening their doors once again and welcoming back patients with enhanced safety measures and cleaning procedures in place. While some may be hesitant to take this critical step, now is the time to get back on track and prioritize preventive health screenings. Otherwise, we may face a second health care crisis of missed breast cancer diagnoses.
For the majority of women, breast cancer is treatable if caught early. My story is a testament that you can go on to live a long, healthy life after diagnosis. As a breast cancer survivor who credits early detection with saving my life, I have made it part of my life’s mission to help educate women about the importance of scheduling their annual mammograms.
Over a decade ago, during a particularly busy time in my life, I found myself tempted to delay the very mammogram that altered the course of my life and led to my breast cancer diagnosis. I kept my appointment, and since then, there have been countless advancements in breast cancer screening, including the Genius 3D mammography exam, which has been shown to detect more invasive cancers, reduce false positives and is clinically proven superior to 2D mammography for all women, including those with dense breasts.
Shortly after I was diagnosed, I wrote “Make it Go Away.” The song not only speaks to this challenging moment in my life, but it also resonates with how many, including myself, are feeling about this pandemic. Unfortunately, the reality is that we must continue to live with COVID-19 and adjust our lives to limit the spread of this devastating virus. However, there are some things that must continue to take priority during this time, and our long-term health is one of them. If you are due or overdue for a mammogram, I am making a personal request that you reach out to your local healthcare facility today. Ask about the COVID-19 safety precautions they have put in place, then schedule your screening appointment.
Stay safe and healthy out there.
Sheryl Crow is the spokeswoman for the Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam. Learn more at BacktoScreening.com.