Melanie’s Corner – June 2021

I hope this newsletter finds you well and making summer plans that are hopefully very different from last summer. Travel is resuming, camps are opening, and friends are gathering thanks to easy access to COVID vaccines. Also, in a recent conversation with a Cancer Care Services board member, Dr. Ann-Margaret Ochs, I learned that cancer screenings are happening!  SO PLEASE SCHEDULE ANY SCREENINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED LAST YEAR (e.g., your mammogram, colonoscopy, mole check, etc.)!

During Cancer Care Services’ first JUST THE FACTS webinar, Dr. Ochs shared ways the pandemic has affected cancer care in the US over the last year. Here are some sobering statistics:

  • 79% of patients in active treatment reported delays in healthcare during the pandemic.
  • 46% of cancer patients and survivors reported financial changes during the pandemic.
  • 48% of cancer patients and survivors reported mental health changes during the pandemic.
  • There was an 80-90% decline in cancer screening for breast, colorectal, and cervical cancers.

Ultimately, Dr. Ochs shared that because screenings were paused during COVID (and therefore fewer people were diagnosed with cancer), there will likely be an increase in late-stage diagnoses. Later stage diagnoses may lead to preventable deaths and an overall increase in cancer mortality rates. Although the full impact of COVID on cancer is not yet known, there will likely be a greater impact on people of color and those who are impoverished. This disparity is why Cancer Care Services is working diligently to provide services and support for cancer patients and their families in these at-risk communities! 

Dr. Ochs reported that oncology care will forever be impacted and not likely return to the pre-pandemic “normal.” Yet positive innovations, like telehealth, have made cancer treatment more accessible for some patients. Similarly, Cancer Care Services has utilized technology to connect with cancer patients, caregivers, survivors, community partners, donors, and volunteers in more creative ways! And from 2021 on… Cancer Care Services will remain devoted to providing the additional care and support those impacted by cancer will need in our post-pandemic world.