WESTMINSTER, Md. (WJZ) — COVID-19 isn’t stopping other diseases like cancer. That’s why experts are saying it’s essential to keep up with mammograms.

On Thursday, LifeBridge Health held its fifth annual Mammothon, offering extended hours so women can take action against breast cancer.

Carroll Hospital nurse Tricia Wagman said she has been regularly screened for breast cancer since she was 35. She has a family history of it.

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When Wagman got a call back after a mammogram in late 2018, she said it was scary.

“When the doctor said you have to come back in and then you’re talking biopsies, it does rock your world,” Wagman said.

On January 15, 2019, Wagman’s doctor told her she had breast cancer. Fortunately, they found it before it became more severe because she was annually getting mammograms.

“I couldn’t feel it doing regular self-breast exams,” Wagman said. “So that was a great mammogram opportunity to see it and catch it early.”

Wagman’s doctor, Dona Hobart, said when people wait until the time they can feel a lump, cancer survival will drop.

She said an earlier diagnosis can make a difference.

“You find them little and then they can be really just literally a blip on the screen,” Dr. Hobart said. “You get treated and you go on with your life.”

But the coronavirus pandemic has affected screenings. Experts predict more than 10,000 cancer deaths over the next decade because of missed screenings.

“Some of the statistics are already showing us that the stage of cancers is on the rise during COVID,” Dr. Hobart said.

While Wagman said it may be scary finding out if you have cancer, it’s a critical step to take that could help save your life.

“Once you have it, you have information, and information is power,” she said.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Stetson Miller

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