High-risk screening mammography patient hesitant ” to show up for the appointment in the middle of COVID-19


The staff at the Nova Scotia breast screening program are trying to reassure patients that it is safe after an alarming number of high-risk women ignored their mammogram.”It’s a little discouraging. If people are not comfortable with, they really should not make an appointment, ” said Trena Metcalfe, the program manager for the Nova Scotia screening program for breast cancer.

High-risk patients include breast cancer survivors, and women with symptoms such as a mass.

Although the centers mammography suite at the hospital in the middle of COVID-19, film screenings in the clinics were shut down for two months. This means that 12 000 routine appointments and 6 000 appointment of diagnosis for higher-risk patients were missed.

Mammograms on the rise again for high-risk patients, on the 13th of May. But immediately, Metcalfe knew there was a problem.

Usually, women forget only five per cent of their appointment. Last week, more than twice as likely to not show in Halifax, in the clinic, in spite of booking appointments 48 hours in advance.

The breast cancer screening clinic at the Halifax Shopping Centre has an exterior entrance, so that patients at high risk of not having to worry about walking through the centre to get to their appointments. (Brian MacKay/CBC)

“Sometimes it takes an hour [of phone calls] just to get four appointment times filled, as people are not comfortable, ” she said.

Those who have missed an appointment, you are given another the next year.

The clinic staff say that they appreciate that the pandemic is stressful, especially for those who fall into a high risk category. They say they have spent a bit of time to ensure measures are taken to protect both patients and employees.

“People are a little hesitant,” said Denise Wright, the supervisor of the Dartmouth, Halifax and Cobequid clinical.

“It is a very safe environment here. But if you’re not comfortable, we book you further down the road. ”

The clinic at the Halifax Shopping Centre is the largest in the province. Currently, only three patients are coming in at a time make sure that the waiting room remains clear. Small clinics, booking one patient every half-hour.

Additional precautions taken

The Patients are examined several times before they enter the building.

“We have worked with the infection control staff of the IWK health centre to ensure that we have safe practices, safe guidelines,” Wright said.

Patients are also advised to sanitize their hands as they come into the projection room.

Wright acknowledges that a mammogram is an intimate experience, but was told that all the technicians are wearing masks and disinfecting surfaces.

“We are less than a foot away from each other, if not inches, so I understand that people would be hesitant,” she said.

Trena Metcalfe, the program manager for the Nova Scotia screening program for breast cancer, is hopeful more women will come for their mammogram now that there has been no case of COVID-19 in the province for two weeks. (Brian MacKay/CBC)

Missed appointments are frustrating for the staff who are trying to catch up.

Even before the shutdown, the average time to obtain a mammogram in Nova Scotia was 97 days. The average time to obtain a mammogram of diagnosis of the cases, when a woman is symptomatic, is about 40 days.

Metcalfe has said that they don’t know how long it will take to deal with the backlog.

“We are working at a much lower capacity now, with the distancing and physical constraints of time, so it will take a bit of time,” she said.

Metcalfe has said that they are a number of changes to try to speed things up, including the working of overtime, and schedule changes.

They also make use of the mobile clinic. It is supposed to be used as a service to asymptomatic women in the rural communities, but the program this year is to be cast. Metcalfe said he, too, focusing on the priority cases for the moment.

1 8 N. S. women will have breast cancer

She said she does not know when they will begin to accept new reservations, as they do their best to see all patients at high risk as soon as possible.

Metcalfe is hopeful that the province continues to open up, more patients will be willing to get their mammogram.

The clinic estimates one in eight of the Nova Scotia women will have breast cancer.

“It is very important for people to have their testing done,” she said.

“The most important thing is that you continue to come to see you the greatest advantage, is when you’re regularly having it done and they can compare it to your previous review, and find things faster. ”



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