Healthy You - Every Day

Good Habit: Return to Cancer Screening

Preventing cancer and identifying it early can save lives

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Preventing cancer and identifying it early can save lives

Learning you have cancer is a moment that never leaves you. A diagnosis triggers a wave of questions like, “Can this be cured?” “How will my family cope?” “Could I have prevented this?”

Screening for cancer is an important way to help prevent development of cancer, as well as identify cancer at an earlier and more treatable stage. During the pandemic, many people delayed their usual preventive health care, which includes cancer screening. Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute is joining a nationwide effort to encourage people to resume appropriate cancer screening to prevent unnecessary deaths.

“Resuming regular primary care and recommended cancer screenings have the potential to stop the impact that the pandemic is having on identifying and treating people with cancer,” says Suresh Nair, MD, Physician in Chief, Lehigh Valley Topper Cancer Institute.

“We want our community to know that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, all locations of Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute have implemented numerous infection control measures to provide a safe environment for people to receive important medical care.” –Suresh Nair, MD

Pandemic paused screenings

Throughout the pandemic, elective medical procedures, including those for cancer screening, were largely put on hold. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the impact was immediate as screening-related procedures dropped drastically starting in March 2020. ACS projects that the pandemic-related reductions in health care access and cancer screenings will result in a short-term drop in cancer diagnoses, then lead to an increase in later-stage cancer diagnoses and preventable deaths.

“We want our community to know that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, all locations of Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute have implemented numerous infection control measures to provide a safe environment for people to receive important medical care,” Nair says.

“Simply put, regular cancer screening tests can improve and save your life,” says Sean Quinlan-Davidson, MD, radiation oncologist with Allentown Radiation Oncology Associates. “Screening increases the chance of detecting some cancers early, when they may be easier to treat. We’re encouraging everyone in our community to talk to their doctor or a health care professional about getting back on track with their recommended cancer screenings.”

Types of cancer screening

Here are the three types of cancer screening we recommend.

Breast cancer screening

Breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death among women. Regular mammograms, starting at age 40, can help detect breast cancer at earlier stages. Schedule your mammogram through your MyLVHN account or learn more about Breast Health Services.

Colon-rectal cancer screening

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of death among men and women in the U.S. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly one in three people for whom screening is recommended were not up to date with this screening. Colonoscopy is an effective procedure that can help prevent colon cancer by the removal of polyps from the intestinal tract. Learn more about colonoscopy.

Lung cancer screening

Lehigh Valley Health Network follows the U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce (USPSTF) guidance for Lung Cancer Screening. Learn more about lung cancer screening and take an assessment to see if you are at risk for lung cancer.

Talk to your primary care provider or call 888-402-LVHN to schedule an appointment.

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