Sunday 24 September 2023

41,781 patients are on the waiting list for a mammogram

The Minister of Health had offered to resolve the situation in one or three months maximum

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23 September 2023 - At The Banks - Source: BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – The Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social (CCSS) has a waiting list (as of September 30) of 41,781 patients waiting for a mammogram.

To this are added 19,288 patients waiting, on average, having 183 days to have an ultrasound, 509 patients with an average waiting time of 35 days for an oncology appointment and another 260 on the waiting list with an average waiting time of 48  days to have a surgical medical appointment.

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The Government of Rodrigo Chaves, through the words of the Minister of Health, Joselyn Chacón, promised that in a month to a maximum pf three, it would end the waiting lists for mammograms.

“We will sign a decree that includes carrying out the entire waiting list that the Caja has in one month (…) This waiting list is made up of thousands of mammograms,” the Health Minister said on October 5.

While the promises of the Government are materialized, patients continue to suffer from long waits.

Experts indicate that there are more than 40,000 patients in Costa Rica with a disease where early diagnosis is vital who can only continue waiting.

The subject of waiting lists for mammograms is the focus of the annual Fight Against Breast Cancer campaign in October

According to the Ministry of Health, in 2020, 427 women died in Costa Rica from breast cancer, making it one of the main causes of death in Costa Rican women.

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Some of the symptoms of breast cancer are:

  • Lump or thickening in the breast
  • Alteration in the size, shape, or appearance of a breast
  • Appearance of dimples
  • Redness
  • Cracks or other alterations in the skin
  • Abnormal discharge from the nipple

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States, lists mammograms as the best test for detecting breast cancer early.

Costa Rica health authorities recommend performing breast self-examination from adolescence and mammography from the age of 40. If there are risk factors, such as a family history of cancer, a mammogram is recommended starting at age 35.

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