WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — National Cancer Survivor’s Day was June 7th and it's a chance to celebrate life after a cancer diagnosis. But it’s also shedding light on serious concern doctors now have, that people are putting off their routine cancer screenings amid the pandemic.
Cindy Hite-Content knows first-hand just how dangerous of a gamble this can be.
“I noticed a discharge from my left nipple, and it didn’t look like a nice color either. It was brown in color, brownish red., turned out it’s dead cancer cells,” she said.
In August 2019, Cindy was diagnosed with DCIS, a form of breast cancer.
She underwent surgery in October and is now cancer-free, but will continue to take medication every day for ten years to prevent cancer from returning.
“I’m so lucky because I hadn’t had a mammogram in 10 years and I shouldn’t have done that.”
According to Epic Health Research, Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, appointments for screenings of cervix, colon, and breast cancers have down between 86% and 94% compared to average volumes in the three years prior.
“Breast cancer is treatable and curable but if you delay coming in, we can’t really do anything. It could result in a worse outcome,” said Dr. Elena Rehl, Breast Surgeon Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach.
Dr. Rehl said they have a protocol in place to ensure patients who come to their hospitals or diagnostic centers for any screenings or procedures will be taken care of in a safe and secure environment.
That includes separate pathways and elevators for COVID and non-COVID patients in all their facilities, appointments are more spaced out to allow for fewer people in the waiting room at one time, and there are facial masks and hand sanitizing pumps stationed throughout the hospitals.