The city of Bordeaux has just kicked off the whole of the Gironde toPink October 2021, the month dedicated to breast cancer prevention. The opportunity to take stock of a year shaken by the health crisis, with a record drop in the number of screenings carried out in the department. All stakeholders call for a “general remobilization“even if the start of 2021 is already shaping up to be much better in terms of prevention.
Breast cancer screenings, collateral victims of Covid
From the first confinement (March 2020), and for three months, in Gironde as everywhere in France, radiology practices have deprogrammed non-emergency mammograms, and prevention messages have taken a back seat. Result : “I could have 10 to 15 patients per day in my practice, says Zeineb Lounici, radiologist at Bordeaux University Hospital and member of the League against cancer. With the Covid, I had 4 or 5. And again, it was not necessarily screening consultations.”
In Gironde, this represents 6,000 fewer mammograms compared to 2019, i.e. around 48 cancers for which there is a delay in screening. Something to worry specialists like Catherine Payet, doctor coordinating screening for the Regional Center for the coordination of cancer screening in Nouvelle-Aquitaine (CRCDC-NA) : “because the disease progresses, the cancer spreads, and when you get there early, it is localized, so the treatment is easier and the chances of recovery much greater.”
The first five months of 2021 reassure professionals and associations a little: the number of mammograms has increased compared to previous years: + 98% compared to 2020 and + 88% compared to 2019. This catch-up effect should not mask the objective: to reach 70% participation.
Geographical distance, another obstacle to screening
For several years in fact, not to mention the health crisis, participation in organized breast cancer screening campaigns tends to decrease. It was 46% during the last campaign, in 2020, or less than half of eligible Girondines, women aged 50 to 74.
Among the brakes mentioned to explain the situation, fear still linked to screening comes back often. Yet “sGetting tested no longer hurts, the devices have evolved, assure Zeineb Lounici. As for the fear of hearing bad news, it is offset by the fact that 90% of breast cancers are now cured when they are diagnosed early..”
Another factor raised, the uneven distribution of radiology practices in Gironde. They are mostly found around Bordeaux and its metropolis. “The north-Médoc, the Estuary and the Réole with the Bastides know a lack of radiologists and perhaps also of gynecologists to raise awareness, Catherine Payet list. On the other hand, we are studying the problem within the framework of a regional cancer prevention plan. If there is a lack of transport in certain areas, the solution could be to organize this transport to a radiology practice.“
- Find the full program of Pink October in Gironde by clicking here.