The Cancer Program at Providence Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa has joined a nationwide effort to encourage patients to resume appropriate cancer screening to prevent excess deaths.
Providence is urging people across Napa County to talk with their health care 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 and May 2020 according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Estimates also project 22 million Americans missed routine cancer screening due to COVID-19 related fears and service disruptions. ACS 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.
“Staying up-to-date with the cancer screenings recommended for your age group, medical and family health history can improve and save your life. We encourage everyone in our community to talk to their doctor to get on track with their recommended screenings,” said Birha McCann, Oncology Nurse Navigator at Queen of the Valley Medical Center. “When we detect cancer early, many of the times it is easier to treat. For example, with lung cancers, when cancer is found with screening it is often at an early stage and patients can more often avoid chemotherapy and be treated with surgery or targeted radiation alone.”
According to a Napa County report, nearly one in four deaths are caused by cancer in Napa County. Lung, prostate, and breast cancer had the highest age-adjusted incidence rates for cancer in both Napa County and the State.
“Our clinics and the hospital continue to keep the health and safety of our caregivers and patients at the forefront. Patients can rest assured, we continue to follow protocols designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including requiring masks be worn by all who enter our facilities,” said Daniel Mirda, M.D., medical oncologist with Providence Medical Group.
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 U.S., yet nearly one in three people for whom screening is recommended were not up to date with screening prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.
About Providence Queen of the Valley Medical Center
Providence Queen of the Valley Medical Center is a 208-bed, acute care facility founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. The Queen is the largest healthcare facility and one of the largest employers in Napa County. Services provided include a regional heart center; orthopedic center and cancer center approved by the American College of Surgeons; the Peggy Herman Neuroscience Center, a neurosurgery program affiliated with UCSF; a Women’s Center; maternity and infant care; inpatient and outpatient minimally invasive surgery; and a full-service emergency department and trauma center, amongst many other specialty services. More information about Queen of the Valley Medical Center can be found at www.providence.org.
About the AuthorMore Content by Providence News Team