(NBC 26) — October kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness month, a topic many doctors say needs awareness. That's because thousands of people have been putting of their screenings because of fears of coronavirus.
While putting your cancer screening off for a few months may not impact you too much, it's skipping it all together which is worrying those in healthcare.
"Where I get concerned is patients who think 'Oh, I'll just skip it this year and do it next year," said Dr. Nina Desai, a radiation oncologist with ThedaCare. Adding, "I would tell patients I see the benefits of coming in and getting your screening done, greatly outweighs the risks of getting exposed to COVID."
Dr. Desai explaining data shows patients who get cancer detected early, not only impacts their overall prognosis, but can help lead to less aggressive treatments and potentially more options for how its treated.
The impact of delayed care is something that could also lead to another worse outcome down the line.
"From the NCI [National Cancer Institute], they're suggesting, they actually model the impact of COVID over the next decade, and this model suggests that we could see an excess of over 10,000 excess deaths from breast and colon cancer in the next decade due to COVID, that's huge," Dr. Desai said.
If you are worried or have questions about the virus or your screening, Dr. Desai said to reach out to your physician. They can help answer any questions you may have, adding "we're doing everything possible so when you come here you are feeling safe." She also suggests starting breast cancer screenings at the age of 40, as its been proven to help decrease breast cancer mortality.