When COVID-19 hit the U.S., hospitals in many areas canceled elective surgeries to redirect resources and personnel to treating coronavirus patients, and people
were encouraged to use telemedicine or delay non-urgent medical appointments. While doing so was necessary to try to stop the spread of the virus, it led to
unintended consequences.

For cancer patients, the unintended consequences start with those who don’t even know they have the disease yet. Early studies indicate the pandemic led to
a roughly 80% drop in routine screening appointments that could catch new cancers in March and April. Rates recovered somewhat in the late spring, but are still estimated approximately 60% fewer breast, colon, and cervical cancer exams from mid-March to mid-June compared with years prior.

That translates to hundreds of thousands of missed exams nationally—and, among those who do have undetected cancer or precursors to it, the loss of potential early diagnoses and interventions. The good news is that extensive coronavirus safeguards are now in place, not only at hospitals and cancer screening centers, but also at physician’s offices.

Action point: call your provider, ask for the COVID-19 protections they have in place, and then decide. Cancer Recovery’s advice: DO NOT DELAY EXAMINATIONS OR TREATMENTS.

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