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She emphasized that medical care for cancer can’t wait until the pandemic is over.
“I would encourage anyone who thinks they have something strange going on with their body that they can’t explain to have it checked out as quickly as possible and to not hesitate because of COVID. The hospitals are safe and are taking all precautions to keep people safe.”
Redway also encouraged people to be their own advocates to make sure they get the tests they need for a diagnosis.
Early in the pandemic, medical officials put out pleas for people to go to the hospital and seek treatment because so many — even those with critical medical conditions such as heart attacks — were staying away or delaying treatment. Meanwhile, many patients had procedures and appointments postponed or cancelled.
While many Canadian patients continue to face long waits for appointments, which has further delayed testing and possible diagnosis, there are some signs of improvement.
Sehdev said he has not had any patients whose urgent surgeries have been delayed significantly in the Ottawa area. He said doctors and health centres have learned lessons from the first wave of the pandemic.
But a survey by the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network found that many cancer patients across the country are continuing to have appointments and tests postponed and cancelled.
“This is very troubling,” said Conrad Eder, a public policy analyst with the survivor network.
Meanwhile, the fear of contracting COVID-19 is still keeping some patients, especially older patients, from getting timely medical care or even cancer screening.
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network survey found exposure to COVID-19 continues to be a concern for Canadian cancer patients.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the kind of psychological fear people have,” said Sehdev. “This kind of campaign is meant to help remind people that COVID is important, by all means protect yourselves with masks and hand hygiene, but don’t neglect your health.”
Sehdev said many appointments can be done virtually — but not all of them. In-person appointments and treatments are safe, he said.
This content was originally published here.