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LISTEN ON DEMAND: THIS AMERICAN LIFE tribute to the 10 killed in the Tops Market shootings.

Screening and observation key to breast cancer detection

A woman is getting a mammogram as a technician assists
National cancer Institute
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Breast cancer is a matter of time. Time when it's diagnosed, time when it's treated, and time when new treatments come along and move into the rooms where patients are treated.

Breast cancer is also fraught in these times, when some patients don't go for screening for the disease, don't come in for treatment during the long COVID lockdown, or are afraid to be out in the world.

Dr. Tracey O'Connor is an associate professor of oncology at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. With two decades of experience treating women using methods from less invasive surgery for most, to forms of chemotherapy, O'Connor says screening is critical.

“You’ve got to have the screen or, the other things I always emphasize to patients, that noticing an abnormality in your breast is a very important thing to report, even if you have a fine mammogram, because there are some breast cancers that are occult. They are not seen on a mammogram. So, it's always important to notice changes and report them as well,” O'Connor said.

O'Connor encourages her patients to get involved in research and offers access to the kinds of studies which are always underway at Roswell Park.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.