Spokane Regional Health District advises regular health screenings in wake of pandemic decline

Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the CDC has seen a decline of more than 80% in various cancer screenings.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) went live on Facebook on Wednesday morning to discuss the decline of important health care screenings throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The meeting, which took place shortly after 10 a.m., featured Health Officer Francisco Velazquez and Manager of SRHD’s Healthy Families program Melissa McDaniel. 

Velazquez began the meeting by discussing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on general medical check-ups and health screenings. At the start of the pandemic in 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised people to avoid going to the hospital and doctor to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 and save resources for those infected.

Most regularly scheduled screenings for diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease were unavailable at the beginning of the pandemic. Consequently, as restrictions have begun to lift, patients have not returned for those general health check-ups. 

Velazquez said since 2020, women’s cancer screenings have declined by 87% for breast cancer and 84% for cervical cancer. Between March and May of 2020, more than nine million cancer screenings were missed.

Additionally, missed screenings have led to an increase in heart failure, Velazquez said. He also warned of the risk of stroke in unchecked cases of hypertension and heart disease. 

McDaniel went on to introduce an SRHD program called Breast, Cervical and Colon Health (BCCHP) that provides eligible women and men with free screening and diagnostic services specific to breast, cervical, and colon cancer, according to SRHD. 

Women between the ages of 40 and 64 may be eligible for the tests, and women between the ages of 19 and 39 with suspicious breast symptoms may be eligible for breast tests. Men between 50 and 64 may be eligible for colon tests. 

Velazquez concluded the meeting with a recommendation to get a COVID-19 booster shot and get outside to combat the effects of sedentary movement.

Article Source: Krem2