NEW YORK, July 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A concerning fallout from the March COVID-19 shutdown has been the disastrous drop in cancer screenings. This worrisome discovery is according to a study in May by Epic Health Research Network. A review of data from 39 health systems from 190 hospitals in 23 states, found alarming statistics: prostate specific antigen (PSA) screenings for detecting prostate cancer fell by 60 percent.
"In my years as a urologist and prostate cancer surgeon, I've never been more concerned for my patients than now," exclaimed Dr. David Samadi, Director of Men's Health and Urologic Oncologist at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York. "By putting off preventive services and screenings to avoid potential exposure to COVID-19, will very likely lead to another huge health crisis of a significant increase in undiagnosed cancer cases in the next few years."
Approximately 2.7 million people were included in this study, of which each had at least one preventive screening for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancer from 2017 to early 2020. Both cervical and breast cancer screenings dropped a whopping 94 percent in March 2020 and colorectal cancer screenings fell 86 percent when compared to the averages in 2017 to 2019.
The National Cancer Institute also has concerns as they are predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in nearly 10,000 additional deaths due to breast cancer and colorectal cancer over the next decade.
"In my specialty of prostate cancer, early-stage prostate cancer, can withstand a delay of a few months in screening due to their slow-growing nature," explained Dr. Samadi. "But men with an undetected, more advanced or aggressive prostate cancer growing inside of them, long delays in screenings can mean the difference between life and death."
Most clinics and hospitals have slowly gone back to business as usual; however many patients are still avoiding medical facilities with fears of contracting the virus if they come in for a preventive cancer screening. Healthcare professionals working in hospitals and clinics have been trained and are practicing extreme care and caution since COVID-19. They are going the extra mile of taking everyone's temperature, requiring face masks, practicing social distancing and frequent hand washing between patients and sanitizing each room and piece of equipment between procedures.
"No medical facility wants any patient to contract COVID-19. Preventive cancer screenings are safer than ever and are absolutely essential for finding and treating cancer even during a pandemic," advised Dr. Samadi. "Cancer doesn't go away during pandemics. Cancer is a time-sensitive disease and early detection is our best way to beat it back which is why preventive screenings are key. Let's avoid a second health crisis of a spike in cancer cases by returning to routine cancer screenings."
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men's Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He's a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Visit Dr. Samadi's websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.
Contact: David Samadi, 212-365-5000, [email protected]