The on-line survey was performed from Jan. 15 by Feb. 7, 2021.
“We were certainly seeing individuals delay coming in for radiation because of concerns related to COVID,” Dr. Karen Winkfield, govt director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance in Nashville, Tenn., mentioned at the news convention. “But we have done a wonderful job in radiation oncology departments around the country with making sure our patients and our staff are safe.”
Patients are additionally returning for most cancers screening, Winkfield added.
Shelley Fuld Nasso, chief govt officer of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, in Silver Spring, Md., mentioned whereas telemedicine has proved vital, many sufferers lack entry or the power to make use of the expertise wanted.
For many sufferers, telemedicine creates a sense that wanted emotional help has been misplaced, together with a way of isolation and restricted entry to the most cancers care workforce, Nasso mentioned.
“We heard from patients that they want to be able to have access to the whole team and not just the one person they may be seeing on telehealth,” she mentioned.
Nasso additionally talked about two sufferers whose docs initially handed off their most cancers as one thing else.
“[These patients] had to be advocates to get their diagnosis — neither of their cancers would have been detected by screening — but they knew the symptoms they were feeling were not right and they sought treatment, even as they faced delays in the diagnosis,” she mentioned.
Not everyone seems to be keen or in a position to advocate for themselves, Nasso added.
“We need to ensure that the system works for everyone regardless of their health literacy or their ability to advocate for themselves,” she mentioned.
Pandemic-related unemployment and the ensuing lack of medical insurance have additionally taken a toll on most cancers screening and prognosis, in response to Dr. Laura Makaroff, senior vp for prevention and early detection at the American Cancer Society.
But Makaroff predicted that as extra Americans are vaccinated, will increase in screening and most cancers diagnoses will observe.
“People will feel more comfortable going in for health care, but I think we as a nation need to also recognize that we have work to do to reduce these barriers so that patients are able to engage in care safely and understand that risk of delaying care or delaying screening is far greater than any risk of potential COVID exposure,” Makaroff mentioned.