COVID-19 has caused many delays in routine medical procedures and appointments across the province. Important and necessary mammogram tests should be available and accessible. Unfortunately, women across Nova Scotia have not been able to schedule mammograms since March.
“This is not a good situation. Once again, we are seeing the Liberal government lag in healthcare prevention programs, even though there are low case numbers of COVID-19 in our province,” says Progressive Conservative Health Critic Karla MacFarlane. “Without these routine screening test programs up and running, lives are at risk.”
Though emergency options are still available, preventative, in-hospital mammogram testing as well as mobile testing units are not currently operating. Nova Scotians are able to freely go to restaurants, tattoo parlours and movie theatres, but women cannot get a routine mammogram.
“Women are due for their mammograms, they are nervous, they can’t call and make an appointment and they don’t know when they will be able to,” says MacFarlane. “We need to know when these vital screening tests will be back and we need to know the government's plan on making up for the backlog that has been caused by months of zero breats cancer screening tests.”
According to CTV, in June, regular screening mammograms wait times were up to 19 weeks in parts of the maritimes. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Timely testing is crucial for early intervention and treatment.
“Without answers and a plan from the Liberal government on getting mammogram tests running, they are risking the health of women,” says MacFarlane. “I understand the frustrations of women who cannot book mammogram appointments and the stress that comes with healthcare concerns.”
MacFarlane is requesting a meeting with Minister Delorey, so he can explain the delay in important tests like mammograms, Pap tests, colorectal and blood collection, and explain what
the plan is to clear the backlog, as well as, in the event of a second wave.