Make those screening appointments

Published 6:49 am Wednesday, August 18, 2021

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Many people canceled or delayed their regular cancer screenings — mammograms, colonoscopies, Pap smears and more — during the pandemic.

In the beginning, it was understandable. Many people who were well didn’t want to go to a doctor’s office or hospital and potentially come into contact with people who were sick, unless the situation was an emergency. 

Getting a regular cancer screening may not be a medical emergency, but these screenings are very important, and we urge everyone to make sure they’re caught up.

“System-wide, we have seen a decline in screenings,” said Jaclyn Bunte, cancer community health educator at Sentara. “We hope to capture those who had to delay their screenings due to the pandemic or just missed them.”

As Bunte said recently, the most important reason for a screening is early detection. Catching a cancer early provides more options for treatment than those available to patients for whom cancer is not caught until the late stages. Early detection and treatment can often mean better odds of survival.

So if you’ve been looking for a sign that you need to reschedule those screenings, don’t wait until your body tells you to go — consider this your sign. Call up your doctor, ask them which screenings you need, and follow their recommendations. You are worth it.