Loyola Medicine Radiation Oncology Chair Urges Cancer Screenings and Ongoing Care During COVID-19 | Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center | Loyola Medicine
Monday, September 21, 2020

Loyola Medicine Radiation Oncology Chair Urges Cancer Screenings and Ongoing Care During COVID-19

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MAYWOOD, IL – As the pandemic continues, there has never been a more important time to continue with cancer screening—routine mammography, pap smears, colonoscopies—as well as ongoing treatment and care for cancer, says Loyola Medicine’s chair of radiation oncology.

William Small, Jr., MD, FACRO, FACR, FASTRO, professor and chairman, Department of Radiation Oncology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, and director, Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, says “there has been a significant drop in cancer screening” throughout the U.S. during the pandemic. “Screenings help detect early cancers and can even prevent some cancers. Some patients even have symptoms and they’re scared to go to the doctor. The risk is that they’ll either lose their window of opportunity for a curative treatment, or they’ll have a serious complication from the symptoms they are having.

“There are also strong fears about getting treatment—getting chemotherapy and radiation; going outside every day to the hospital,” says Dr. Small, in the new Loyola Medicine video “The Importance of Cancer Care During COVID-19.”

“For people under the age of 80 in this country, cancer is a leading cause of death. And we don’t want to take one problem and switch it for another,” he said.

Loyola University Medical Center has continued to treat cancer patients—uninterrupted—throughout the pandemic, utilizing Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 safety standards. All staff and patients have their temperature taken and are screened at the door for COVID-19 exposure, patients are also screened the day before their appointment, and all staff and patients are required to wear a face mask. Masks will be provided to anyone who does not have one.  “I would very much encourage people to continue their general medical care, whether it’s a cancer screening, whether they have a symptom that may be related to cancer, or whether it’s for high blood pressure or diabetes,” Dr. Small said. “Don’t ignore your health care because you are worried about the pandemic.”

To schedule a telehealth or in-person appointment with a Loyola Medicine physician, visit loyolamedicine.org or call 888-584-7888.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.