Back to Basics: Take Extra Care for Checkups and Screenings

Posted on by DCPC

Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH

Calendar with reminder note saying: Annual Checkup appointment.
Due for a wellness checkup or cancer screening? A first step in deciding what’s best is to call your doctor’s office to ask what your options are and what protocols are in place to protect staff and patients.

There’s no doubt that 2020 is different from anything we could have imagined. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had to adjust to new ways of doing everything from work to school, travel, and socializing with loved ones. Another area of our lives that looks different is how we get routine health checkups and cancer screenings.

Just recently, I was due for my annual wellness visit and mammogram. Although I knew that going to see my health care provider would be different from normal, it was the best decision for me to go and take care of myself. The experience was not only very different but also very safe, which was comforting.

When I got to my doctor’s office, I had my temperature taken and was asked how I was feeling. Later that week, I had my screening mammogram done at my local hospital. I had my temperature taken and answered a few questions about symptoms related to COVID-19. When I got the all-clear, I received a sticker and proceeded with my mammogram appointment. Healthcare staff and patients were wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

Explore Your Options

It’s important to make decisions about health care with your provider. A first step in deciding what’s best is to call your doctor’s office to ask what your options are and what protocols are in place to protect staff and patients. If you aren’t comfortable going to the office, ask if there are telemedicine options to talk to someone online, by phone, or through e-mail. Talk through whether rescheduling important screening tests is the best choice for you now.

The decision to get routine checkups and screenings is not the same for everyone. I have family and friends who have made various decisions about going in, based on discussions with their doctor. My sister has several chronic health conditions, but after consulting with her doctor, she decided it was best to go see her doctor. I know others who have used telemedicine for checkups and some who have rescheduled their appointments for later dates.

Take Extra Precautions

If you do visit your provider in person, it’s likely there will be new procedures to follow. You can protect yourself and others by covering your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home.

Preventive care, including cancer screening, remains important. Now is the time to get back to basics—taking care of your health, however that may look for you.

More Information

COVID-19: Doctor Visits and Getting Medicine

COVID-19: People Who Are at Higher Risk for Severe Illness

Posted on by DCPC

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Page last reviewed: Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Page last updated: Wednesday, June 24, 2020