Wednesday, October 27, 2021

COVID fear has kept people of color from health checkups

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In the first months of the pandemic, doctors’ offices suspended appointments and hospitals canceled routine procedures as they focused on managing the coronavirus. Even though these operations have slowly reopened, fear of contracting COVID-19 has prevented thousands of Americans from having their standard health exams.

The figures were particularly striking for cancer screening rates, which Dr. Carmen E. Guerra said fell 90% for colon and breast cancer at the height of the pandemic.

Guerra is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a health equity researcher who studies disparities in cancer screening in black and immigrant communities. She said that while colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in black men and women, colonoscopies are the only cancer screening test that is preventative – which means screening for colon cancer may also alleviate it. cancer risk down the line.

“It’s an invasive procedure and our most complicated test,” Guerra said. “Most people don’t realize that most cancer screens detect cancer once it’s there. But remove polyps that …

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