Cancer clinic doctors say patients are arriving with more advanced diseases than before COVID

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and if you’ve been putting off your annual check-ups and screenings, now is the time to get moving. Cancer doctors say COVID is no longer an excuse to delay.

Doctors that oversee cancer clinics say that new patients are arriving for treatment with more advanced diseases than before the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s according to a survey from the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

Dr. Jonathan Friedberg, Director of the Wilmot Cancer Institute said “as predicted there seems to have been in certain locations, a shift toward more advanced cancers being diagnosed, not necessarily numerically more, but it makes sense that if people put off their screening or weren’t doing their routine health maintenance, you’re going to see a lag and then you’re going to see these more advanced cancers.

Dr. Friedberg said they felt it a little bit, but they did not query their database to prove it.

If you’re still worried about safety, consider this, most screening locations and radiation therapy clinics still practice universal masking and social distancing. They screen both, patients and staff, for COVID-19 exposure daily, and most report they’ve increased sterilization and use face shields for staff during procedures.

 “Don’t keep putting it off it is something that has made a difference in survival,” said Friedberg. “We estimate that between a quarter and a third of cancers may be preventable with lifestyle alterations.

This means keeping an eye on your diet, stepping up your exercise, and quitting bad habits