Doctors urge patients to resume their preventative care appointments

Doctors across New Jersey are urging their patients not to put off their health screenings.
Health experts say that some people put off appointments for things like their annual physicals or cancer screenings during the COVID-19 pandemic when some medical offices were closed. But now with some COVID restrictions easing up, doctors want to see their patients come back.
Gary Marano, of Cliffwood Beach, says that he knows how important it is for him to go to Riverside Medical in Secaucus for his regular checkups.
“I have high blood pressure, so I gotta keep that under control,” he says.
Marano’s doctors say that many other patients aren’t back in the habit of keeping up with their health care.
“On average we’ve probably seen a dip of at least a quarter in patients coming in and following up,” says Dr. Raj Brahmbhatt,” chief medical officer for Riverside Medical Group.
Brahmbhatt says that too many patients are skipping preventative care. He says it is another health-related cost of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Not just the folks who got sick and the lives lost to COVID. But unfortunately, the extra outcome and lives we lost – probably from not getting the care they needed,” Brahmbhatt says.
He says that this is across the board. Everything from eye and dental exams to annual physicals and bloodwork to detect potential problems. Also being put off are cancer screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies. Doctors say that delaying those important checks can mean a delay in diagnosis and treatment.
“Unfortunately, I’ve had one or two patients recently who have had a discovery that due to a canceled procedure in 2020 – colonoscopy or upper endoscopy – that they didn’t have because of COVID, rightfully so. We weren’t doing them then,” Brahmbhatt says.
But procedures like this have resumed, so doctors say that patients should schedule their appointments as soon as possible.
Doctors say that for anyone who is still worried about COVID-19, most offices are still practicing all COVID safety protocols.