Is It Safe To Go To The Doctor For Routine Visits?

In a mid- and post-pandemic world, there is a lot to consider when making appointments for routine doctors’ visits, like having your eyes checked or having a skin cancer screening. Naturally, people are nervous, cautious or even afraid to stick to their normal routines as has always been in the past. We have questions; is it clean enough, who might have been here, were they infected, were they screened, were they asymptomatic? And all for good reason. But doctors, nurses, administrators, who are all on the front line, every day, all day, assure us, it is as safe as it ever was.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation recently released disturbing survey results, showing that more than 52 percent of American adults have missed, postponed or cancelled routine medical appointments and screenings because of COVID-19.

“This second wave of the survey confirms our worst fears—the pandemic has made people more afraid to go to their doctors. While exposure to the virus is an understandable concern, people need to know that missing appointments increases their risk for other serious health issues, including preventable cancers,” Carolyn “Bo” Aldigé, founder and CEO of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, said.

The survey released by the Prevent Cancer Foundation reports:

  • Two out of three Americans are not getting recommended cancer screenings and 32 percent are not aware of which screenings they should be getting.
  • Minorities (at every age group) are most likely to be missing their appointments: African Americans (41 percent) and Hispanics (40 percent) are most likely to have missed, postponed or canceled a health appointment. African American and Hispanic women are most likely to miss a mammogram or PAP/HPV test.
  • More than 19 percent of parents say they have missed their children’s scheduled vaccinations.
  • Nearly one-third of Americans who had a physical scheduled missed their appointment and one-fourth who had a dentist appointment scheduled missed their appointment.
  • Fear of exposure to COVID-19 is the number one reason why people are missing appointments.
  • More than six in 10 Americans who missed appointments say they plan to contact the doctor’s office to reschedule. Nearly one in 10 say they do not plan to reschedule.
  • Thirty-five percent say they are likely to take a colorectal cancer screening test at home.
  • Annual physicals, dentist appointments, mammograms, PAP/HPV tests and skin checks were the top missed appointments.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keep those routine medical appointments.

Christy Hinko
Christy Hinko is a managing editor at Anton Media Group. She is a New York Press Association (NYPA) and Press Club of Long Island (PCLI) award-winning writer and photographer.

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