COVID-19 amplifies burden of cancer for these Minnesotans

[Star Tribune, July 20, 2020] For cancer patients in Minnesota, COVID-19 has altered treatments, paused clinical trials and limited connections with friends and family in the midst of a dreaded diagnosis. Thousands of mammograms and colon­oscopies were delayed in March and April as hospitals and clinics marshaled resources to fight COVID-19.


Now, as the health care system slowly returns to pre-COVID norms, doctors are uneasy because patients seem to be steering clear of care, despite reassurances about the safety of health care facilities. One possible consequence is that cancers will be caught later, when treatment options are more difficult.

“A delay of six weeks is probably not going to have a significant oncologic outcome impact or change for any individual patient or even a population,” said Dr. Natasha Rueth, a cancer surgeon at Allina Health System. “I’m more worried about the downstream effects of people not coming into the health care system now, and what that’s going to mean for future cancer patients.”

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