St. Luke’s Oncologist Emphasizes Importance of Routine Screenings Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Coffee Conversation: Continuing Routine Medical Exams, Cancer Screenings Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

DULUTH, Minn. – Routine medical exams and cancer screenings are taking a back burner for many people amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a worry for many in the medical community, as this could have negative impacts in the years to come.

Dr. Roberto Fernandez, a St. Luke’s Oncologist, says it’s vital for patients to come in for routine cancer checkups, mammograms, and other annual medical exams.

Cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States.

“It’s very important to come in for routine screenings. As many as four in ten individuals, in general, can expect to develop invasive cancer during their lifetime,” said Fernandez.

Dr. Fernandez said one recent model suggests if screening rates do not resume, much of the progress made on cancer mortality rates in the U.S. could be reversed within the next ten years.

“In some cases as many at 10,000 preventable deaths could be potentially seen during the next decade and that’s just for colon and breast cancer alone,” said Fernandez.

Dr. Fernandez reminds individuals to keep an eye out for symptoms such as blood in the stool, weight loss, fever, chills without any explanation or new bumps or lumps developing on your body.

Health officials say the best thing to do if symptoms appear during the COVID-19 pandemic is to reach out to your doctor over the phone and talk about your options.

A virtual visit could also be set up with St. Luke’s.

St. Luke’s wants to remind patients their facility is fully stocked with personal protective equipment (PPE), and they are taking extreme caution when it comes to keeping everyone safe inside their facility.

Click here to connect with the St. Luke’s Regional Cancer Center in Duluth, Minnesota.



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