CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Amy Jones is a busy mother of two. Jones, who is the head of corporate communications for Wells Fargo, is also a breast cancer survivor.
Jones first spoke with WCNC Charlotte last year during chemotherapy after being diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. She put off her mammogram for four years. Now, she's urging women everywhere to get checked.
"Don't put this at the bottom of your to-do list as we have many things in life to handle," Jones said.
While Jones put off her screenings for years, prolonged delays in breast cancer checks declined significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The total number of cancer screening tests received by women through the CDC’s Early Detection Program declined by 87% for breast cancer during April of 2020 as compared with the previous five-year averages for that month.
"It has been a journey. I was pretty surprised by my diagnosis in February of 2020. I went through two surgeries you know, the cancer was bigger than people thought," she said. "And I went through all the treatment, and I did it all in a pandemic."
According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is detected early, the five-year relative survival rate is 99%. Early detection includes doing monthly breast self-exams and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.
"I remember sitting in chemotherapy last summer and thinking I have to make sure that women realize they need to do these mammograms because if you catch this disease early, you don't need to go through chemotherapy," Jones emphasized.
For Jones, chemotherapy ended in September of last year and her radiation treatments concluded on December 18. She was able to ring the bell at Levine Cancer Institute.
"For the women out there, young women, middle-aged women like me," Jones said. "Go get your mammogram. That's my message. That's why I'm talking to you."