CLEVELAND, OHIO — Some people have put off medical care due to fears of contracting COVID-19.
But we can’t let the pandemic stop us from making health a priority – especially when it comes to routine checkups and screenings.
“If you postpone your routine screenings it can lead to poorer health outcomes,” said Neha Vyas, MD, a family medicine physician with Cleveland Clinic. “We want to make sure we prevent certain cancers and certain diseases, and in order to do so, we need our patients to come in and also to get their cancer screenings and their vaccines as well.”
Dr. Vyas said health and medical facilities are taking extra precautions to keep patients safe from COVID-19, so there’s no need to fear a trip to the doctor or hospital.
She noted the benefits of checkups and screenings often outweigh any potential risk of contracting coronavirus while receiving medical care.
Routine exams help you spot and stay on top of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.
Your doctor can also help keep track of screenings, including when a mammogram, or colonoscopy is due.
She said cancer screening tests are especially important to keep on your calendar because they give you the best chance to catch cancer early, when it’s most treatable.
A visit with your doctor also provides an opportunity to ask about things that may be bothering you.
“You need a trusted primary care provider to talk to them about your concerns, whether they are mental health needs or whether they’re changes in your family history, or anything that’s come up as a result of this past year or two,” Dr. Vyas said.
Dr. Vyas said routine checkups are important for young adults too. Even though they may be generally healthy, it’s good to establish a relationship with a physician, so if something pops up, they know your health history.