SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – When celebrities come down with certain health crisis’ it usually draws up public perception. Now, after Katie Couric announced she had breast cancer, the question is will the “Katie Couric Effect” mean more people will sign up for mammograms? Dr. Holly Mason, Breast Surgery Section Chief for Baystate Health, said the pandemic has delayed screenings for many, and Katie Couric’s piece could be an important reminder to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

“My hope is that with Katie Couric’s announcement, patients will read about it and say ‘you know? it’s time’,” Mason said.

After Katie Couric’s televised colonoscopy people signing up for screenings went up by 20%. Now, with Couric shedding light on her breast cancer diagnosis, doctor Holly Mason at Baystate Health hopes people will get back on track with their screenings.

“Thanks to screening, her cancer was found before it was something she could feel. And when cancers come in as something she could feel. That screening allowed for her to minimize her treatments,” continued Dr. Mason.

Mason said people in their 50’s should be screened regularly, but while many people do get breast cancer in their 40’s it might not be the right time to start.

Mason told 22News, “The issue is women in that age group have more dense breast tissue. So a screening mammogram is more likely to have a potential false positive, which may lead to more imaging and perhaps biopsies for what ended up being a benign problem, or just an area of dense breast tissue.”

Ultimately it comes down to risk factors, like if anyone in your family was diagnosed with breast cancer, or your overall health. If you have questions about what’s right for you, you should start by consulting with your primary care doctor.