University hospital cancer specialist urges patients to resume screenings and treatment

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) – An estimated 10 million Americans have postponed cancer screenings and tests, according to Dr. Jorge Garcia, division chief at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, and he is urging patients to resume their care as soon as possible .

“Certainly access to imaging for blood work to standard approaches such as biopsies and mammograms has certainly been impacted by COVID,” Dr. Garcia said.

At this point, Dr. Garcia said it’s imperative that the healthcare community identify cases and find a way to get patients back into the system.

This includes patients who postponed care, or those who started care and subsequently because fear of COVID-19 postponed them.

“So it’s critically important for us to try to regain what we’ve lost over the past few years,” Dr Garcia said.

The true impact of a COVID delay in cancer screenings is unknown at this time, and Dr. Garcia thinks we may not know that impact for at least 3-5 years.

Telemedicine will play a central role in the future, especially for people who are still hesitant to enter a healthcare facility.

“Whatever means we have to use to get them into the system, we have to use them, and that’s what we have to embrace, we have to be innovative in how we bring these patients back,” said Dr. Garcia.

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