CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -(anchor intro) The COVID-19 pandemic has lead many people to put off doctors appointments, and procedures to manage the risk, including cancer patients.
“Being diagnosed with breast cancer at any time is really hard, let alone during a pandemic,” said Dr. Jill Dietz, University Hospitals Director of Breast Center Operations.
She was part of multi-society, multi-disciplinary team that broke these patients down into categories, and set guidelines for how they can and should be treated during this pandemic.
“There are so many questions and so many concerns. Dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis at the time of pandemic adds anxiety and complexity to the situation that both patients and providers have to deal with," said Dr. Dietz.
Priority A are those who will not survive if they are not treated immediately.
Priority B are where most patients fall.
Priority C includes patients whose survival rate won’t be dramatically impacted if treatment is delayed.
“Screening mammography is a good example. You don’t have to have your next mammography 366 days after your last one. because there are more risks involved with coming in to a healthcare facility than there is postponing that mammogram a couple months,” said Dr. Dietz.
She advises that as soon as the pandemic is over, get in and get your mammogram.
Until then, if you’re in an area with a lot of COVID-19 cases, the risks outweigh the benefits.
Doctors are also considering the conservation of personal protective equipment that can be used for those who are sick with COVID-19 instead of on less-urgent procedures.
They’re weighing alternative treatments, the risk of patients getting the virus if they come in for a procedure or treatment, and the resources of their surroundings.