Did you cancel a cancer screening because of COVID-19?

Posted at 5:21 AM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 06:24:38-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Now that things in New York State are beginning to reopen, health experts are urging anyone who may have canceled a preventative cancer screening to get it back on the calendar. The say now is the time to talk to your doctor, because the screenings can literally be lifesavers.

A preventative screening in 2014 changed Kevin Hays' life. The young father of three from Colden found out he had colon cancer.

"I've seen it first hand," Hays said. "I have Stage 4 colon cancer, and the only reason that I'm still here today was because I was able to get a colonoscopy. It was Stage 2, and unfortunately it's progressed since, but we've been able to manage and treat it along the way because we caught it early."

In the past few months, so many people have had to cancel preventative screenings that health experts worry about what that could mean moving forward.

"The American Cancer Society and our Cancer Action Network colleagues did a survey," said Dr. William Cance from the American Cancer Society. "About 80 percent of patients have experienced some delay in their healthcare. Eight out of 10."

As things begin to reopen, health experts and guys like Kevin are urging you to reschedule.

"The big five cancer screenings we think about [are] lung, breast, colon, prostate and cervical cancer screenings," said Dr. Jason Edwards with the Internal Medicine program at the University at Buffalo.

If you had to cancel any of those procedures, now is the time to call and make an appointment.

If you're not comfortable going into the office - doctors say you should ask about having a visit via telemedicine. If you do come in to be screened, places like ECMC assure patients they're taking every precaution to keep people safe.

"Patients and visitors all go through a checkpoint system," said Dr. Edwards. "They're asked to identify if they have any symptoms, if they've been exposed to anyone with coronavirus. And then they have their temperature checked."

The bottom line: don't put off those important screenings. Make your health a priority.

Preventative screenings are once again taking place at the following locations in Western New York

  • Roswell Park
  • Catholic Health
  • Kaleida Health
  • Windsong

"Get those screens rescheduled," said Dr. Cance. "And do not go to the back of the line. You can't be there."

"We're all people. We all fall into the trap of putting things off with best intentions of getting around to them later," Hays said. "But your health is not something you should put off."

Appointments are being scheduled right now, so health experts say you should call your doctor and have that discussion about the best way you should move forward when it comes to rescheduling.