PINK month: Don’t Let COVID Stop Your Cancer Screening

Jennifer Bethurem
Director of Public Relations Lake Regional Health System
Margaret Coplin, M.D., an oncologist at Lake Regional Cancer Center.

Many people may be putting off cancer screenings because of COVID-19. And that has health experts worried. It could mean that thousands of cancers will go undetected, causing unnecessary deaths.

“Cancer does not stop for a global pandemic,” said Margaret Coplin, M.D., an oncologist at Lake Regional Cancer Center. “We don’t want patients to skip screenings because of COVID fears.” 

Delays Can Be Dangerous

According to a survey by the Prevent Cancer Foundation, 35 percent of people have skipped a scheduled cancer screening during the COVID pandemic.

“Earlier in the pandemic, we encouraged people to stay at home, but now it is safe to resume your regular cancer screenings, like a mammogram or prostate exam,” Dr. Coplin said. “Cancer screenings are important because they can catch cancer in its earliest stages, when it is easier to treat.”

Medical professionals agree that cancer screenings can save lives. Waiting to be screened could mean that cancer gets caught at a later stage, when it is more advanced.

If you had a screening that was postponed or cancelled, be sure to talk with your doctor about rescheduling. And make an appointment for a screening if you are due for one. Do not wait until you are experiencing symptoms, such as finding a lump, to book your screening. 

You May Have Options

Depending on the type of test and your risk factors, short delays may be fine. For instance, many women get Pap tests yearly. But the American Cancer Society says most women only need a cervical cancer screening every three to five years. So a delay of a few months might not be significant.

For some cancers, there may also be screening options that can be done at home or virtually. Start by asking your doctor what options are available and what screening schedule may be right for you.

Your Safety is a Top Priority

The safety, health and well-being of patients, visitors and team members are top priorities at Lake Regional Health System. The health system is taking multiple precautions to keep patients safe during their visits. 

To protect patients, visitors and employees, Lake Regional facilities are upholding the latest protocols from the CDC.

  • Screening: All employees and patients are screened before they enter any Lake Regional facility.

  • Masks: Everyone is required to wear a face mask. Lake Regional will provide a mask if needed.

  • Waiting Options: Patients have the option to wait in their car or in the waiting room.

  • Cleaning: Facilities, exam rooms and waiting rooms are cleaned and disinfected throughout the day.

  • Smaller Groups: To keep the number of people in buildings low, Lake Regional has limited their number of visitors. 

  • Social Distancing: Waiting rooms are arranged to allow for social distancing.

If you are concerned you may have COVID-19 or have questions about testing, call 573-348-7419.