From OHC, Specialists in the Treatment of Adult Cancers and Blood Disorders

June 30, 2020

Life as we know it changed in March for cancer patients when they were faced with COVID-19. The fear of exposure, the fear of being at risk because of underlying health conditions, and the fear of missing necessary appointments were all real concerns.

In addition to those concerns, yet another outcome is surfacing that OHC is extremely concerned about: the delay in seeking treatment and the lack of screening to diagnose cancer in its early stages.

“Our concern is that cancers will be diagnosed later, and patients may have a worse prognosis,” said OHC’s Prasad R. Kudalkar, MD, medical oncologist and hematologist.

The National Cancer Institute is evaluating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on breast and colorectal cancers and projects an excess of 10,000 deaths in the U.S. over the next ten years. While we have seen a steady decline in cancer deaths since 1993, the result of the pandemic may change these numbers.

At OHC, we want patients to know that we understand their fear and have been aggressively implementing measures to reduce the risk of transmission. And we continue to do so. Our hospital partners also have measures in place to make sure a patient’s risk is reduced when they arrive for tests and screenings. Early in the pandemic, restrictions were in place to limit hospital access. Now patients can go to the hospital and feel safe. It’s imperative that patients return to taking care of themselves and not ignore symptoms or avoid screenings.

Our team at OHC continues to follow protocols set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health and implement additional measures:

  • Call our patients before they come to the office to screen for any symptoms.
  • Screen again when patients arrive at our offices.
  • Take temperatures of all patients and staff.
  • Require patients and designated visitors to wear masks.
  • Require all staff to wear masks.
  • Restrict all visitors unless required and approved.
  • Arrange treatment areas, waiting rooms and office workspaces for social distancing.
  • Offer telemedicine video visits.
  • Rigorously clean our offices.

Local hospitals are screening patients, visitors and employees before entry. They are requiring everyone to wear masks and limiting visitors. And they have expanded cleaning and sterilization. So, when asked if local doctors’ offices and hospitals are working together to protect patients, the cancer experts at OHC say, “Yes.”

“We must support our patients and help eliminate their fear because if people don’t receive timely care, resume annual cancer screenings, and seek medical care when symptoms arise, I’m concerned we’ll see more advanced disease and more people may die from cancer who could have been successfully treated,” Dr. Kudalkar added. “Our efforts and focus on leading-edge options have not changed during this pandemic. We continue to bring lifesaving treatments like CAR T-cell therapy, new clinical trials and precision medicine. Yes, we have incredible, ground-breaking advancements in treatments, but it’s always better if we can prevent it or catch it early than treat it later.”

If you have been diagnosed with cancer and want the latest treatments from the region’s cancer experts, you can learn more about how OHC is protecting you here or call OHC at 1-888-649-4800.

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