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.