LAKE ST. LOUIS, Mo. – For women, not undergoing regular health care visits due to the pandemic may have long-term implications for their health stemming from missed cancer screenings, delayed prenatal screenings, and wellness checkups.
Dr. Emily Sammons, an OB/GYN and the president of the medical staff at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital in Lake St. Louis, says doctors have seen a substantial decline in women’s checkups since March.
“We are aware that there have been many fewer visits for well checks than we’ve had,” she said. “I mean, we’ve missed something like 80 annual visits, just in that time, per provider.”
But with the pandemic, women are taking on much more for their families, navigating at-home learning and family health. But a delay in a diagnosis due to delay in putting women’s health as a top priority is concerning.
“I have actually had patients in my practice that during the pandemic, I’ve seen a delay in the diagnosis of cancer and I think that’s really serious when you start thinking about the fact that a prognosis could be changed because of a delay in care,” Sammons said.
About 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer. Missed screenings may have long term implications.
Dr. Sammons says SSM Health facilities have put in very safe precautions for women to come back and get screenings and well woman visits reestablished.
“The office is now open and running smoothly,” she said. “Please come back; it really is important.”
To learn more about your Well Woman visit, click here.
The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.