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The result of skipping the appointment of a doctor during the Covid pandemic

Missed health checkups and physical examinations. Delayed mammogram and colonoscopy. Doctors say many Americans have postponed medical appointments for a year during a pandemic and the effects are just beginning to surface.

Evelyn Figueroa, a family doctor at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical College and a professor of clinical family and community medicine, said: “It affects life expectancy.”

Studies have shown that patients postponed attacks on mammograms, pediatric consultations, flu, herpes zoster, and other illnesses. A Delayed screening due to pandemic Researchers estimate that it could lead to deaths from 10,000 breast and colorectal cancers in the next decade.

“These delays can have long-term consequences that we don’t yet know,” says Monasher, Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. .. In a September survey, more than one-third of 4,000 adults were worried about possible exposure to the coronavirus, or because their healthcare providers offered limited services. He said he was late or did not seek care.

African-Americans are more likely to do so, or have been in chronic health, Shah said. One-third of those who delay care say they have been adversely affected by harming their health or limiting their ability to perform work or other daily activities.

Mary Findling, assistant director of the Harvard Opinion Research Program, which conducts polls on health and social policy, said: Census In recent weeks, we have found that 25% of adults report that they have not yet received the medical care they need. “It’s been over a year since the pandemic happened, and it’s still a big concern,” says Dr. Findling. “The amazing thing is how long this has been going on.”

A JAMA Health Forum Study She co-authored five national surveys, stating that one in five people surveyed delayed treatment of serious problems, and more than half said they faced adverse effects as a result. Studies show that many people delay vision and dental care in addition to screening, surgical procedures, and wellness visits. The survey question specifically asked the patient if he had delayed treatment due to a pandemic, but not for any other reason, Dr. Findling said.

A September report According to a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 41% of US adults have delayed or avoided medical care, including routine and emergency or urgent care, according to CDC pediatricians and medical epidemiologists. Commander Christie Clark, the author of the report, said.

Adults, people with disabilities, young adults aged 18-24, Hispanic adults, students, and unpaid caregivers of people with two or more underlying illnesses are likely to avoid routine or urgent care was. Clark works for the US Public Health Service, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. “Of particular concern is delays in care for people with two or more underlying medical conditions,” she said, saying that 54.7% of such people reported delays or avoidance of care. .. “They are certainly the people who can’t afford to miss care.”

Regular medical appointments are important because they provide an opportunity for vaccination and early detection of new conditions, says Cmdr. Clerk. She says CDC researchers are conducting follow-up to see if healthcare is still being ignored later in the pandemic.

Telemedicine helped fill the gap when the appointment was canceled, but Dr. Figueroa said he had to convince the patient to leave the house, for example, to examine a mass in the leg. I did.

Jerry Krishnan, a professor of medicine and public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says telemedicine was useful during the pandemic, but some problems require physical examination. He said the diagnosis of new health conditions, monitoring of various conditions, and medical decisions were all delayed.

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“There will be results,” says Dr. Krishnan. Access to care is already an issue, “especially for low-income, socio-economically disadvantaged people.” “We couldn’t do a specific screening test,” he says. This is because infection control precautions have limited technology and lacked personal protective equipment for patients and staff.

Certain tests, such as lung activity measurements (pulmonary respiratory tests used to diagnose asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), produce aerosols and the Covid-19 infection rate is too high, so 6 months at some institutions. I couldn’t do the above. There is a risk, says Dr. Krishnan. Instead, the patient was diagnosed based on symptoms. This can mean a delay in proper care.

“I think the results will come out in the next few years,” says Dr. Krishnan. “This includes cancers that may have been previously detected and treated.”

Shalom Karnikki, chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Montefiore Health System in Bronx, NY, said the number of weekly cancer diagnoses began to reach normal levels in February, almost a year after the pandemic began. I will. “We are anecdotally looking at patients with a higher stage of cancer than before,” he says.

The number of mammograms performed is now above pre-pandemic levels, says Dr. Karnikki. Lung cancer screening has declined dramatically during the pandemic, and doctors are now encouraging people at high risk of lung cancer to participate in CT scans because of their smoking history and age. Colonoscopy is also on the rise, says Dr. Karnikki.

Write to Sumathi Reddy at sumathi.reddy@wsj.com

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The result of skipping the appointment of a doctor during the Covid pandemic

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