Van Wert Health Joins Effort Encouraging Patients to Resume Cancer Screenings

Roxanna Torres, MD
Roxanna Torres, MD

Roxanna Torres, MD

Van Wert Health is urging people throughout the region to talk with their healthcare provider to resume regular primary care checkups and recommended cancer screening. This has the potential to lessen the negative impact that the pandemic is having on identifying and treating people with cancer.

Throughout the pandemic, many health care resources were redirected to combat rising COVID-19 cases and to prevent the spread of the virus. Elective medical procedures, including cancer screening, were largely put on hold at the onset of the pandemic. The impact was immediate as screening related procedures dropped drastically in March, April, and May 2020 according to the American Cancer Society. Estimates also project 35% of Americans missed routine cancer screening due to COVID-19 related fears and service disruptions. The American Cancer Society foresees that the pandemic-related reductions in health care access and cancer screening will result in a short-term drop in cancer diagnoses and a later corresponding increase in late-state diagnoses and preventable deaths.

“Regular cancer screening tests can improve and save your life,” said Roxanna Torres, MD, Women’s Health Specialist. “There certainly can be life after a breast cancer diagnosis, but the chance of being cured is going to be much higher when the cancer is caught at an early stage. This is because many breast cancers are highly curable when caught early. The best protection is early detection.”

Screening refers to testing individuals who have no signs or symptoms of disease. It is critical to ensure that patients with signs or symptoms associated with cancer undergo diagnostic evaluation as soon as possible. Breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death among women and colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of death among men and women in the United States, yet nearly one in three people for whom screening is recommended were not up-to-date with screening prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

American Cancer Society breast health screening recommendations:

  • Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so.
  • Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
  • Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every two years, or can continue yearly screening.
  • Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live 10 more years or longer.

Women should also know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away. Some women – because of their family history, a genetic tendency, or certain other factors – should be screened with MRIs along with mammograms. Talk with a health care provider about your risk for breast cancer and the best screening plan for you.

The Van Wert Health - Women’s Health Team cares for patients in both Van Wert and Paulding.   All of the providers are welcoming new patients, including Jose Crespo, MD; Alberto Delgado, MD; Roxanna Torres; and Shane Gerber, CNP.  For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 419-238-3047 or visit our Women's Health website.