World Cancer Day: Doctors see decrease in screenings since COVID-19

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 5:59 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Health experts are warning the general public not to be lax in scheduling their cancer screenings, as they’ve seen an increase in late-stage cancers. This comes as the world raises awareness of one of the greatest threats to life; cancer.

“We are seeing more advanced cases than we normally do,” said Dr. David Randolph II, Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute. “Especially women coming in with stage 3 breast cancer, when normally this is something we can catch in stage 1.”

This decrease in catching cancers early comes as another effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are reluctant to leave their homes and travel to a nearby hospital to be screened, for fear of catching the virus. While doctors say staying home when possible is a good habit, it should not come in between of you and your health.

“I can’t say I blame them, especially those who know they have cancer as it is essentially a death sentence for them if they catch COVID,” Randolph II said. “However, catching cancer early is essential, and can also save a person’s life.”

The National Cancer Institute has estimated that the decrease in cancer screening across the nation will result in 10,000 additional cancer deaths for the next 10 years. That number is most likely higher as this statistic only includes breast and colon cancer.

“The real number will be even higher should this continue, the key to stopping cancer remains early detection,” said Dr. Sarah Moseley, Medical Science Liasons. “The resources are there, but we have to make use of them.”

To make an appointment to have your cancer screening click HERE.

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