Oncologist: More cancers detected in later, deadlier stages due to lack of routine tests
Local oncologists say more cancers are being diagnosed in their later, deadlier stages after many routine screenings were deferred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Doctors at Yale Cancer Center say early detection has been harder during COVID-19.
In February, researchers at the University of San Diego found more late-stage cancers and less early-stage cancers were found in 2020 than in 2019.
Yale Cancer Center Director Dr. Eric Winer says there's no doubt cancer screenings were down during the pandemic. Doctors say women over 45 should get a mammogram every year. Every 10 years, men and women over 50 need the less popular screening, colonoscopies.
"Colonoscopies, which not only detect cancers, but sometimes treat pre-cancerous lesions and prevent the development of cancer," said Winer.
Winer says if you deferred your scans to stay away from the hospital during the pandemic, you shouldn't delay any longer.
"There are some cancers that are very, very, very slow growing. In other cases, two years is enough time that it could really change someone's chance," said Winer.
Most cancers are detected not through scans, but through symptoms. Winer also says it's time to get back to regular checkups and always tell your doctor if you notice a change.
"It's fine if they don't want to go out to restaurants, I understand that. But if they have a symptom that could be a serious health problem, please see your doctor," he said.