Deann Cook

While many skipped their routine appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic, Deann Cook kept her mammogram appointment at MercyOne in the spring of 2021. The next day, she received a call to come back and learned she was in the early stages of breast cancer.

As COVID-19 disrupted people’s plans and schedules, many skipped or missed screening appointments, including mammograms, MercyOne Medical Center officials said.

But while many skipped their routine appointments, Deann Cook kept her mammogram at MercyOne in the spring of 2021. The next day, she received a call to come back.

“I knew this wasn’t like other times I had been called back,” she said. “My imaging navigator and radiologist were very frank with me. They showed me images they were concerned about.”

Then came their diagnosis: “We think this is an early cancer.”

Cook said she has always been proactive and dedicated to getting annual mammograms.

“It’s 10 minutes that can save your life,” she advised. “It was the key for me – going from no problem in March 2020 to early cancer in March 2021.”

Following her diagnosis, Cook spoke with people close to her and learned some had skipped their annual screening because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She took it upon herself to hold those women accountable to schedule an appointment.

“You’re better off knowing you have cancer today than knowing tomorrow, because you have additional time for treatment. Women should be really vigilant and control any health care risks they can. A mammogram gives you some control.”

Experts expect a greater number of many cancers since the start of the pandemic. They advise women perform regular breast self-examination and receive annual mammograms, starting at age 40, unless there is a family history of breast cancer.

For more information about mammograms, contact MercyOne Clinton Medical Center by calling 563-244-5642 or get information online at MercyOne.org/clinton.

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