A physician in Sacramento, California, said this week the cancellation of regular medical care during the coronavirus pandemic could yield a “massive wave” of cancer patients in the future.

In an interview with California Public Radio (CapRadio) Tuesday, Dignity Health thoracic surgeon Dr. Costanzo DiPerna said even though Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced in late April that hospitals and healthcare providers could resume some nonemergency medical care, many patients are still not scheduling appointments.

“Many patients are concerned about coming to visit us, to be screened for cancer, to be surveilled for their previous cancers we’ve taken out,” DiPerna explained.


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From CapRadio:

What I’m concerned about right now, not just for lung cancer but for all cancers, is are there patients out there that don’t want to come in because they’re afraid of getting COVID-19? And, so, they avoid mammograms, they avoid cat scans, they avoid colonoscopies … Then in two years we’re hit with this massive wave of patients that are all at a later stage of essentially incurable cancers.

In California and many other states, medical visits governors decided are of a “nonemergency” variety have included routine mammograms, breast ultrasounds, and colonoscopies – which often detect cancers at their earliest stages, when they are most treatable.

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