With National Women’s Health Awareness Week in full swing, women are reminded to take control of their health – which means scheduling a mammogram.

Hartford HealthCare is encouraging women, particularly those who skipped their mammogram because of COVID, to protect their health by getting their annual breast cancer screening.

The current recommendation by the American College of Radiology and and Society of Breast Imaging recommends yearly mammograms for women over 40 – but some younger women should consider getting checked also. For women with a family history of breast cancer or abnormal breast density, regular mammograms might be recommended sooner.

Alison Karns, a women’s health coordinator for Hartford HealthCare’s East Region, notes that many women have skipped their annual mammograms because of the pandemic. Even for a person who seems to be at low risk for breast cancer, this can be dangerous, because mammograms can detect breast cancer long before symptoms appear. Additionally, “with breast cancer, the earlier we find it, the earlier the chance for care,” said Karns.

Ultimately, the message is clear – get that mammogram, especially if you’ve been putting it off during the pandemic, because early detection could save a life.