PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The number of people newly diagnosed with cancer has gone down significantly and while that may sound like good news, it's not - it's merely a sign people aren't getting screened due to concerns about the pandemic.
An open letter was released to the public Thursday from the American Cancer Society and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network along with 76 leading cancer centers, including Penn Medicine and Fox Chase Cancer Center.
It explains that precautions have been put in place at medical centers to keep staff and patients safe. It encourages everyone to resume regular care that includes screening tests such as mammograms and colonoscopies.
Doctors said we've made great strides in helping more people survive cancer over the years due to early detection, but now we could be headed for a setback.
"We are very, very concerned those numbers are going to go down and literally tens of thousands of women with breast cancer or men and women with colon cancer are going to die of their disease who would not have died if they had come in for their usual screening and usual medical attention," said Dr. Lawrence Shulman of Abramson Cancer Center, Penn Medicine.
Hospitals have gone to great lengths to keep people safe with protective equipment, staggering appointments and limiting the number of people in an area. It is better to get checked then to delay care.
Doctors say it's safe to get your preventative screenings amid COVID-19 pandemic
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