Facing breast cancer risk during a pandemic

ABC News’ Erielle Reshef reports on the breast cancer “pre-vivors” continuing their care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
6:14 | 10/17/20

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Transcript for Facing breast cancer risk during a pandemic
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month until I take a look at some of the unique challenges of screening preventing and treating this disease during the global pandemic. I for women with what's known as the bracket gene mutation to journey can be especially daunting. ABC's aerial Russia has this report. It's a delicate topic first so many. I didn't and so I was fourteen little sun that this isn't he should green image Stanley and seek preventative care for heightened cancer risk. I deeply emotional experience I had and not my breast surgeon. As well we cannot oncologists telling me that as soon as I knew me like untrained capsules and I needed to pull the trigger high end. Eight bilateral. And preventative mistakes mean and a total Hester but. During that Kobe nineteen pandemic and added layer of anxiety and logistical complexity. New research fighting breast cancer screenings like mammograms were down 63%. Between march and June. And researchers that Quest Diagnostics finding a dramatic decline in new diagnoses first six cancers with a 52%. Decrease in new breast cancer patients per week in doctor Judy Garber chief of the division for cancer genetics and prevention at Dana Farber Cancer Institute says. It's an alarming trends. When Kobe is under control and that table. Come cancer will still be here. I don't want to forget and not take care of those risks especially our high risk populations. Well they're still coping with Curtis 45 year old Chen in Terre Earl's mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011. In 2014 Shannon tested positive for the Brock a two gene mutation. On December 23 and 2014. As I was packing up my office you leave for the Christmas holiday. I chatted phone call from I eighty telling you that NT results and come back she. And I was. I didn't. Women with the brothel one gene mutation have a 72%. Chance of developing breast cancer by age eighty and bracket two carriers have a 69%. Chance which means cancer is likely but not certain. Leaving these women with a difficult choice. Chan and a so called pre driver opted for preventative double mastectomy to reduce the chance of her developing cancer. She scheduled the procedure after losing both parents. And a close friend to illness in 2019. Those were three things that really colony Danish didn't need it citing a 201920s. When he had to be ears that I went I had to wit my eye surgeries but since surgery was pushed back twice due to the -- nineteen crisis somewhere around that third week of march. Once the hospitals started to. Saying no. Elective surgeries are going to be held and only eat the surgeries were deemed necessary we're gonna be held in the hospital. I got a phone call from the doctor's office telling you that our surgery had indeed end team elected. And therefore was being put on hole. And Shannon is not alone 28 year old Andrea -- Collins was also worried her procedure could be postponed due to the pandemic. And there's a lot of uncertainty is there in. 32 year old Caitlin Meyer Krause had to fight to see a doctor in person for her regular check up. After finding a concerning spot but took a little convincing than Harrison and finally I was able drinking at NB CNN center despite the challenges all three have taking care of their health which doctor Garber says is critical during these trying times what is your message to your patients rate down. For my patients who know they had increased risk and her hat is working to. Control in their lives by their monitoring I say you know we are all working out ways to not actually state fleet come and have your screening. Her patients who really feel that it's time for them to hot button surgery which for some of our patience is the right way to handle their wrists. That too is happening and some genetic testing can even be done at home through telemedicine. We do it all virtually just speaking to each other today and Danny getting hit in the mail send a saliva sample. You investigate these things broke corporate you're up is our bet your. And for those pre by first there's added urgency to proactively seek treatment. Their products not going in and maybe having cancer and it occurred at saint scared me more than. Then keen on spending that kind of being seen with a global pandemic on top of an already difficult journey. Many pre vipers are finding solace in community. How can still is happening tiny. Equally need to be. Raising breast cancer patients is an understanding Brewster are kind of thing is again organizations like force bringing together those facing hereditary cancers and providing resources to help them navigate. And emotionally taxing and. Arduous process just knowing that you're not allowed them than there are thousands of other people out there. Go into the same things going through screens that are thinking about surgeries in. A different topic she said such surgeries that he. It's that's really powerful knowing that you're not in this alone. But with unprecedented challenges comes unprecedented. Resilience. So here we have patients who had inherited risk of cancer that days he learned to live with they have to find a way to incorporate that into their lives. It may be because of that went Kobe comes it's one more sitting. But it's when we're seeing and they have been remarkably still reaching out taking care of each other taking care of their families. They eat now think of coded as well but. You know people are amazing and I've Kobe brings that out in the in us as well. Gary L rat chef ABC news New York. A reminder of resilience our thanks to carry L for that.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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