The coronavirus pandemic has delayed cancer treatments and diagnosis.
A few months ago, when Americans began feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, state mandates required a focus on urgent and emergency care. Along with patients’ own concerns about being in a health care setting due to fears of contracting the virus, this led to delays in routine care such as screenings and elective procedures. Many more individuals felt reluctant to get yearly physical exams or follow up on issues, for fear of exposing themselves to the coronavirus in an in-person office visit.
Some health care leaders believe the impact of the pandemic may reverberate for years to come. For example, according to a model by the National Cancer Institute, Norman E. Sharpless, M.D., its director, offered a stark prediction: Tens of thousands of excess breast and colorectal cancer deaths will occur over the next decade as a result of missed screenings, delays in diagnosis and reductions in oncology care caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He went on to note that the estimate is conservative. It doesn’t account for other types of cancer, nor does it factor in other variables such as regional variations in lockdown response to the coronavirus. Besides the disruption in clinical care, the pandemic and isolation measures have shut down labs and testing facilities across the country, and interrupted clinical trials.
As we remain in flux and stricter safety measures are put in place, and as tests and trials resume, it will be important for people to visit their doctors, have checkups and start or continue treatments. An added obstacle is, of course, remaining as safe as possible as these activities progress. Hospitals, infusion centers and other facilities will need to remain vigilant with social distancing, cleaning routines, and other safety precautions.
Protecting your health
Norton Healthcare remains committed to quality care and safety during the pandemic. Measures are in place throughout facilities, from encouraging masks and using personal protective equipment to visitor restrictions, social distancing policies, and more rigorous cleaning protocols. Read more about what Norton Healthcare is doing to protect your health here.
To better accommodate patients and make the screening process as convenient as possible, Norton Healthcare offers extended hours for mammograms and colonoscopies. Need help getting care you might have missed or postponed due to the pandemic? Connect via MyNortonChart and we can assist you.