It’s been a difficult few years. With everyone’s lives in upheaval, the focus that is usually placed on primary care and preventive services has, in many cases, been put on hold while dealing with the worldwide public health crisis of COVID-19.
According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 40% of adults¹ in the U.S. avoided medical care during the pandemic. This number includes about 12% who avoided urgent or emergency care and 31.5% who avoided routine care.
How will delayed checkups and screenings affect the population? Here’s what you should know.
Increased Health Issues Expected
Jumping back into our healthcare routines where we left off may not be as easy as it sounds. Not only do many of our lives look different, but in some cases, regular health procedures have had to be put off or canceled altogether. Because of this, many experts anticipate an increase in health issues² as the healthcare system tries to make up for the lost time.
Additionally, preventative care is vital to reducing health risk factors, making certain illnesses, diseases, or conditions easier to treat. But without regular checkups, many early warning signs were missed.
Are you overdue for a health scan? It’s time to prioritize your health and make an appointment. Contact Preventative Diagnostic Center today!
Sharp Decrease in Screenings During COVID
The National Cancer Institute³ noticed a sharp decrease in screenings during the pandemic, which resulted in fewer cancer diagnoses. The fear is that when people finally come in for their screening, a cancer prognosis may be much worse.
Similarly, the CDC stated an 87% drop in breast cancer screenings⁴ and an 84% decrease in cervical cancer screenings for women in the spring of 2020. Medical professionals urge patients to prioritize screenings—especially those with symptoms or who may be at higher risk for cancer.
The Screening Backlog Caused by COVID
When the quarantine came into effect, many people could not keep regular appointments. Offices shut down, and many people became concerned about exposing themselves to the virus. This caused a significant backlog for screening facilities, from which many have not fully recovered.
While the screening backlog has dramatically improved since the pandemic’s start, numbers are still not up to what they were pre-COVID. The cause of the backlog is due to several reasons, including social distancing and reduced staffing.
Importance of Regular Checkups
With so many unable to get in for regular appointments during the coronavirus pandemic, people may now be at greater risk for:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Infectious diseases
- Cancers that could have been identified and dealt with sooner
With these issues going undiagnosed and the normal process of getting screened and tested prolonged, the condition may be much worse and more difficult to treat once the patient is able to see a doctor.
Regular checkups and screenings can help save lives! Make an appointment today for preventative screening.
Why You Should Prioritize a Visit to Your Doctor
Getting in to see a doctor now may not seem urgent, but here are some reasons why you should prioritize a doctor visit⁵ and resume regular checkups:
- Address current health concerns – Make a list of current concerns. Even though they may seem unimportant now, it’s good to get expert medical advice and deal with issues before getting out of control.
- Discuss chronic medical conditions – If you have chronic conditions such as diabetes, getting in for an appointment is essential to manage changes in your health and assess the effectiveness of treatments.
- Receive preventative health treatments – Screenings, diagnostic CT scans, or blood tests should be completed as recommended by your doctor to evaluate current health issues or uncover new medical needs.
Prioritizing Your Health After the Pandemic
Dealing with the aftermath of a pandemic is not easy, and of course, you never quite know when or if another will come along. But prioritizing your health care visits and staying on top of appointments and screenings is a long-term lifestyle choice that will ultimately increase your quality of life and should not be ignored.
If you’ve been putting off medical care over the last few years, it’s time to make those appointments and keep them. Regular checkups can save lives by helping you detect health issues and preventing a devastating prognosis.
The team at Preventative Diagnostic Center is here to help you stay on top of your health with low-dose CT scans and preventative tests. Take control of your health and make your appointment today!
¹Czeisler MÉ, Marynak K, Clarke KE, et al. Delay or Avoidance of Medical Care Because of COVID-19–Related Concerns — United States, June 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1250–1257. Retrieved 18 March 2022
²Scott, D. (14 February 2022). The health system isn’t ready for an advanced cancer surge. Vox Media. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
³National Cancer Institute. (10 March 2021) For Cancer Screening, COVID-19 Pandemic Creates Obstacles, Opportunities. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
⁴Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (30 June 2021). Sharp Declines in Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
⁵Johns Hopkins Medicine. (3 June 2021). COVID-19 Story Tip: What to Expect and Prepare for as You Return to Regular Health Care Appointments. Retrieved 18 March 2022.