GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – At the age of 59, Susan Gilbert, of the Redlands was diagnosed with breast cancer. It had been eight years since she went for a mammogram, at the time of her diagnosis. Gilbert was asymptomatic. Her doctor suggested she go for a screening, when she suffered an arm injury and needed and MRI.
Gilbert underwent chemotherapy treatment for one year. She found out she carried an ATM genetic mutation, which puts her at higher risk for breast cancer. Later, her daughter ended up developing breast cancer at the age of 29.
June Rush, a St. Mary’s staff member who screens patients for mammography says, “If there is a woman who’s mother had breast cancer, she should have her mammogram 10 years prior to the onset of her mother’s diagnosis.” The recommended age for patients to get their first screening is age 40.
St. Mary’s has seen a decline in routine screenings due to the coronavirus crisis. “In the setting of COVID-19 and the pandemic, I’ve seen women who have gone several months, or who have missed a year and thought they can skip this year,” says Dr. Swink. St. Mary’s Medical center is taking precautions during this time, by checking the temperatures of everyone who enters the facility. Masks are required for both patients and physicians.