It was this month last year when health concerns started revolving around COVID-19.
That means, in many cases, those routine appointments, screenings, and surgeries took a back seat.
Dr. Travis Rearick, a family physician with East Hills Primary Care, said as more appointments are delayed and cancelled, more problems could go undetected.
“Some cancers don’t quite wait for COVID to be over,” he said
“I remember calling every single person — and having our staff call every single person — on the schedule to see if we could postpone their visit one month or two months. Or, if they could flip over to a telehealth visit.”
He said there was a point at their hospital where all elective procedures and screenings were cancelled.
Appointments were pushed back months at a time, or even longer.
“Every once in a while, I’d say, ‘Okay, let’s postpone this for one more year.'”
Although, a lot can happen in that year.
“Sometimes the longer we let some of these cancers go unnoticed, they grow and spread. Treatment for them does become much more difficult,” Dr. Rearick said.
He said women should get their pap smears and mammograms, and men should be checked for prostate cancer.
Everyone, depending on their age, should get colonoscopies, Dr. Rearick added.
Cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and other health problems are also checked for during routine appointments.
“It is something that we want to catch early. There’s a lot of benefits to catching those things early.”
There are even more ‘side effects’ of the pandemic, also:
“I’ve noticed with my patients, I have seen a lot of weight increase, and along with that, some cholesterol creeping up, some blood pressure issues creeping up,” Dr. Rearick said.
He said it’s important to eat right, exercise, get sleep, and focus on your mental health.
Although, it all starts with those routine appointments and exams.
“I like getting that established first, and then after that, we can take care of problems as the year goes on,” he said.