Cancer Screenings Take a Nosedive amid Pandemic, Stay-At-Home Orders

A new health report is raising questions about whether the extended economic shutdown is putting potential cancer patients at risk. Routine medical tests for detecting cancer and other diseases have taken a nosedive since mid-March. That's according to a new health report.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders, cancer screenings typically performed during annual doctor visits fell by nearly 70 percent nationally, and even more in viral hotspots. The new numbers are from Komodo Health, which also reports cholesterol panels fell by 67% and the blood sugar test to detect diabetes were off 65%. Doctor Kent Osborne, Director of the Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, says he's not worried in the short term.

“But, for longer duration it could [be dangerous for patients], and it would be disappointing to me if this was extended for too long a period of time. Then, we might see patients who would come in with a little more advanced cancers than we would like,” Osborne said.

Health experts across the country warn that a lack of screenings could prove costly down the road if high-risk cancer patients are left untested and untreated.

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