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Health Screening Habits After COVID-19

Jaymeson Stroud, M.D.

August 1, 2022

Dr. Jaymeson Stroud was featured in the July 2022 Ponte Vedra Recorder Senior Living Section. He discussed the impact COVID-19 has had on screening habits and the cancer community as a whole.

To schedule an appointment for screening or to see one of our physicians: Call (904)880-5522 or click here.

“As one might expect, the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the number of screenings that we saw exponentially in the local Jacksonville area. With many patients and staff worried about the spread of the virus, patients were staying home and skipping their annual check-ups and other medical appointments. On top of this, elective medical procedures were postponed or halted to prioritize the pandemic’s urgent care demands and to limit its exposure and spread to everyone.

We have found that the delay in cancer screenings has caused many cancers to go undetected. My colleagues and I are now diagnosing a higher than average amount of patients with advanced-stage cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2020 approximately 9.4 million screening tests that would have normally taken place in the United States did not occur. Because of the pandemic, we saw a decrease in screenings and therefore many of our patients are now being diagnosed with cancers that could have been caught and treated earlier if they had come in for their screening. Routine cancer screenings are important for detecting cancers in their early stages, which can improve treatment success and lead to a higher survival rate.

With the COVID-19 pandemic nearing its end, my colleagues and I are beating the drum for a return to routine screenings in order to reduce the diagnosis of advanced-stage cancers. At ACC, we emphasize the importance of regular screenings so that cancers can be detected early and treated successfully. Breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer screenings are among the most successful methods to help detect cancer in its early stages.

Regarding breast cancer screening, traditional mammography is still considered the gold standard for screening.

  • Traditional mammograms can be performed in combination with breast ultrasound, 3D mammogram, and biopsy if needed.
  • Contrast-Enhanced Mammography, a cutting-edge technology that permits the evaluation of breast tissue for signs of early breast cancer with a high degree of sensitivity, is also offered at ACC and is an excellent diagnostic option for high-risk patients.
  • Breast cancer is frequently asymptomatic and undetectable on a physical exam until the cancer is more advanced. Mammographic screening allows us to detect breast cancer before symptoms arise.

Colorectal cancer screening is another crucial cancer screening that can help detect colorectal cancer in its early stages.

Screening for colorectal cancer often involves a colonoscopy, which can also detect precancerous polyps.

  • Following a successful colonoscopy, patients may not need a subsequent procedure for up to 10 years.
  • Other forms of colorectal screening include a fecal occult blood test, sigmoidoscopy, virtual colonoscopy, and DNA stool test.

Prostate cancer screening is one of the quickest and easiest cancer screenings.

Prostate cancer affects 1 in 8 men at some point in their lifetime.

  • Screening for prostate cancer should begin at age 50 for men who are at average risk, age 45 for men who are at high risk, and age 40 for men at an even higher risk.
  • The most common prostate cancer screening method is a PSA test, which measures the prostate-specific antigen in your blood.
  • PSA screening can detect prostate cancer at an early stage when it is still very curable.

Screening may seem like an inconvenient task, but studies show that routine screenings improve survival by detecting cancer before it reaches advanced stages. Don’t let the hassle of screening stop you from detecting cancer at an early stage and taking the next step toward living a longer, healthier life. If you are interested in meeting with one of our physicians or have additional questions, call us at (904)880-5522 or visit our website at ackermancancercenter.com.”

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