Doctors say get your cancer screenings, even during the pandemic

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DENVER (KDVR) — It’s time to get those mammograms, colonoscopies and lung cancer screenings scheduled.

HealthONE doctors hosted a virtual town hall Tuesday to address cancer screenings and care during the time of COVID-19. They want patients to know they believe it is safe to come in for screenings, and early detection can make a huge difference.

During Stay-at-Home orders, medical facilities were unable to conduct screenings, and thousands of Coloradans did not get those needed tests. But providers say now is a good time.

“The hospitals are very safe right now. I would argue that they are safer than most of the public paces that you all may be finally venturing out to,” said Dr. Jenifer Marks during the town hall meeting. 

The doctors want patients to know that there are new cleaning protocols and new appointment protocols. Everyone who comes in is screened, and staff wear masks.

Dr. Stephanie Miller, a breast surgeon, says she is particularly concerned about all the people who were not able to get their screenings during the Stay-at-Home order.

“All those women who would have had their cancers diagnosed, started on treatment plans, have now been sort of put on pause,” Miller said. “They need to be screened, and it’s important, and the onus is on us to create the environment of safety.”

Miller believes the facilities are safe and the fear of COVID-19 should not prevent someone from getting screened.

That’s a message Sarah DeHart agrees with. She was six months past due for her screening when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“My options were less because I did not screen when I should have,” DeHart said.

She was diagnosed as stage three, and the cancer had already spread to her lymph nodes.  She had five months of chemotherapy and radiation.  

“I might have been able to avoid a lot of treatment, and a lot of heartache, and pain and trauma if I had just stayed on it,” she said.

DeHart hopes others will hear her story and go in to get their screenings on time, even during the pandemic.

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