Have You Skipped Cancer Screening Tests During the Pandemic?Posted on by
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started a year ago, you may have stayed at home as much as possible to avoid getting sick. Most people stopped going to the doctor unless they had an emergency. Many doctor’s offices initially closed, and appointments for routine tests, including cancer screening tests, were postponed.
As a result, many people didn’t get cancer screening tests in 2020. In fact, a new CDC study found that 80% fewer women in Southern California got screened for cervical cancer during the spring 2020 stay-at-home order, compared to 2019.
You Can Go Back to the Doctor Safely
Most doctor’s offices are open, at least on a limited basis, following CDC guidelines. If you’re due for a cancer screening test, call your doctor. Ask if the office is scheduling appointments for screening tests.
If so, take steps to keep yourself and others safe. Wear a mask, stay 6 feet away from others, and wash your hands often. If you think you might have COVID-19, call your doctor before you go and ask what you should do.
Cancer Screening Tests Are Too Important to Miss
Finding cancer early improves your chances of living longer. Regular screening tests may find breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers early, when treatment is likely to work best. Lung cancer screening is recommended for some people who are at high risk.
If it’s time for you to be screened for colon cancer and you are concerned about in-office procedures, ask your doctor about stool tests that you can do at home.
CDC’s Dr. Lisa Richardson had her annual wellness visit and a mammogram in June 2020. “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,” she said. “The experience was different, but very safe.”
Although COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind and getting out in public may be scary, staying on top of your routine wellness visits and screenings will help you stay healthy, too.