In this unprecedented time, every action that we take now can have a profound impact on our patients, our colleagues, technologists and families.
To comply with recommendations for social distancing in order to blunt the spread of COVID -19 (novel coronavirus) and avoid significant impact to our patients and staff, the CSBI and CAR recommend that all average risk and high-risk screening mammography, ultrasound and breast MRI be discontinued temporarily with immediate effect. These should be postponed for 6-8 weeks.
In addition to the WHO recommendations for social distancing, this action would be in line with the CDC advisory that medical facilities “reschedule non-urgent outpatient visits.”
Our breast imaging patients are generally healthy, and their condition is deemed as non-life threatening where service can be delayed without anticipated change in outcome.
Patients who are already screened and have abnormal screening results that are not highly suspicious should be delayed for 6-8 weeks. The feasibility of an assessment for a highly suspicious screening result during the 6-8 weeks of a pandemic wave will depend upon availability of local resources. Cancer diagnostic assessments for higher priority cases should not stop but should be based on level of severity and local hospital policies for abundance of caution.
Please consider postponing all screening work and help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak. Please follow the directives of our public health agencies for further direction. In the meantime, keep safe practices and remember to thank your colleagues, technologists and administrators for their hard work during these difficult times.
When CSBI was faced with the inevitability of COVID-19 pandemic affecting all of us in Canada, we had to take action to do what is possible to restrict the spread and limit the rate of infection. In line with the Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization and Cancer Care Ontario recommendations, CSBI urgently issued a statement recommendation to postpone screening mammography, ultrasound and breast MRI in average-risk and high-risk individuals on March 17. This measure avoids the possibility of spreading the infection through a screening procedure, in particular to our more vulnerable older population. Delaying screening has been shown to not significantly negatively impact outcomes if delayed for six to eight weeks. If we can help to flatten the curve of the pandemic through this important measure, we will be very relieved to have helped to contribute in a positive way.
– Dr. Jean Seely
Dr. Jean Seely
Dr. Mike Barry