Local doctors: Cancer screenings dropped during pandemic

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Dr. Anas Al-Janadi, the department chief for cancer health at Spectrum Health, says the number of cancer screenings postponed during the onset of the pandemic is concerning. 

“Very low numbers,” Al-Janadi said. “We were concerned that in fact there would be likely an effect of not doing the recommended screening on time.”

He says people avoided their screenings for several reasons, including stay-at-home orders and the public’s hesitation toward entering medical buildings during the pandemic. 

However, holding off a screening can lead to problems. 

“Screening is done because we know it does affect the outcome,” Al-Janadi said. “It has much better results when we detect cancer earlier.”

More than a year later, Al-Janadi and his colleagues are starting to see the effect. 

“Each one of them has many of these stories,” Al-Janadi said. “Yes, they are finding more of these cancer (patients) that unfortunately missed their screening and now finding them in a situation that will compromise the success of treatment we can offer.” 

He says there’s no need to hold off if you’ve waited to get a cancer screening. 

“Most of screenings, if not all, are done at an outpatient (center),” Al-Janadi said. “They are really quick procedures.”

Information about Spectrum’s cancer screenings can be found at SpectrumHealth.org.

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