COVID-19 & THE DANGERS OF POSTPONING ROUTINE CARE
Postponing care during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially routine screening care like annual exams, can be dangerous. Earlier this year a number of organizations including the American Cancer Society and several health care systems urged people to resume regular checkups for the purpose of preventive care. There has been a notable decline in the number of early cancer diagnosis across the US. 1
Early in the pandemic the US Centers for Disease Prevention recommended postponing nonurgent procedures like cancer screening resulting in an 80% decrease in such visits within a group of 1.5 million Kaiser Permanente patients.2
More than 12,000 women get cervical cancer every year. Up to 93% of cervical cancers are preventable.3 In addition to delays in Pap Smears, women have also delayed mammograms, and other routine and preventive care.
Like many practices across the nation, Asheville Gynecology and Wellness noticed a steep decline in visits during the early days of the pandemic in 2020. Though patient visits quickly picked up and new patients continued to seek us out, we recently noticed a large number of patients had in fact delayed or missed their usual follow-up care. Recently we began reaching out to many of our patients who have apparently postponed their usual care.
If you or someone you know has put off seeking appropriate care or avoided usual screening care, we want to urge you to seek treatment. The latest COVID-19 variants are causing another surge of infections but vaccination is proving effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death. Asheville Gynecology & Wellness continues to maintain careful infection control practices to ensure your visit is safe and welcoming. We are all striving to return to normal life as we knew it before the pandemic. We hope you to see you as usual for your annual exams and to help you maintain your best health.
1 Kaufman et al. | Changes in the Number of U.S. Patients with Newly Identified Cancer Before and During the
Coronavirus Disease 2019
(COVID-19) Pandemic. | JAMA Network. August 4, 2020
2 Miller, M, et al, Impact of COVID-19 on Cervical Cancer Screening Rates Among Women Aged 21–65 Years in a
Large Integrated Health Care System — Southern California, January 1–September 30, 2019, and January
1–September 30, 2020, CDC Weekly January 29, 2021.
3 Retrieved from the internet https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/cervical-cancer/