Portsmouth, Virginia (Wavy) – Many doctors are concerned that we may notice a surge in the diagnosis of common cancers later this year and beyond.
A recent report from American cancer The Society estimates nearly two million new cases of cancer this year, however these estimates do not take into account the unknown impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer diagnoses and deaths.
Doctors fear that missed cancer screenings and delays in medical care could lead to admissions of patients with more advanced cancers.
Patricia Ataviana of Virginia Beach recently learned that she has stage II lung cancer.
“I didn’t have any symptoms, I didn’t have shortness of breath, I didn’t have a cough, I didn’t have anything,” she told WAVY.
Ataviana considers herself happy because she asked for an examination, which revealed a tumor relatively early.
According to Dr. Gradon Nielsen of Virginia Oncology Associates, this is not the case for everyone.
“There will definitely be an increase in the number of people suffering from advanced cancer due to skipping surveys,” he said.
The the impact of the pandemic on lung cancer screening not yet known. However, The CDC reports a sharp decline in other cancer screenings after COVID-19. In April 2020, when the pandemic began, the number of mammograms decreased by 87%; screening for cervical cancer decreased by 84%. Research in ACS Journals reports that the number of colonoscopies has dropped by 45% in 2020.
Nielsen said that although screening tests bounced back a bit, they did not return to pre-pandemic levels.
“I think it will take many years to convince people to come back to it, just because so many people are not used to it now,” he said.
It can cost patients a lot of time and money – if not their lives.
“If you have more advanced cancer, you come to the point that you may need a few months or even indefinite chemotherapy,” Nielsen explained.
Ataviana believes that if she had waited to feel the symptoms, it might be too late.
Nielsen said the earlier the cancer is detected, the better the outcome. So if you’ve postponed a survey or survey, there’s no better time to make up for it than now.