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Don’t let COVID-19 pandemic delay cancer screening

Life Healthcare highlights the importance of continued cancer screening and treatment despite the COVID-19 pandemic

Growing concern continues to mount as the COVID-19 pandemic results in delayed cancer screening and treatment. This causes long-term consequences in morbidity and mortality figures due to the ongoing delays in treatment.

Cancer has become the epidemic of the modern age, with the global burden doubling over the past thirty years[1] however, the COVID-19 pandemic has added a complex layer of fear for patients. “Cancers remains the leading cause of death globally[2]. According to stats from the National Cancer Registry (NCR), one in four South Africans are affected by cancer. These figures stress the importance of not delaying care as it can often be too late when exploring treatment options as many cancers progress rapidly,” explains Dr Mark Ferreira, group chief medical officer.

Cancer occurs when the body's cells begin to divide continuously. These cells then continue to grow and spread into surrounding tissues. Understanding the signs, symptoms and treatment options is critical to catching the disease early and improving the outcome for the patient.

“Life Healthcare hospitals have taken great care and invested robustly in state-of-the-art infection prevention technology and methods to ensure the utmost safety of our patients, especially those who are immune compromised such as cancer patients,” explains Dr Ferreira.

Many people are affected by cancer and have found it challenging to manage their care while ensuring their safety during this unprecedented time. “We expect that a trend will arise in which various cancers are undiagnosed due to fear of contracting COVID-19. Studies have further shown that death caused by a delay in screening and treatment will far outweigh the deaths caused as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” explains Dr Kathan.

Life Healthcare Group offers state of the art treatment options for cancer, such as the Novalis Radiosurgery treatment, one of the most advanced cancer treatment options available, as well as the TrueBeam STx, an advanced linear accelerator and radiosurgery treatment system. This technology is changing cancer treatment in the modern era and has already assisted thousands of patients in leading as normal lives as possible following diagnosis.

“The month of February, along with World Cancer Day, places a spotlight on the seriousness of the cancer epidemic across the globe that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Life Healthcare Group is committed to continuing providing patients with the highest level of treatment and care without compromising their safety. We are committed to supporting patients and helping our society and communities to address and eradicate cancer to make life better,” concludes Dr Kathan.