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What doctors say about prostate cancer screening amidst COVID-19

Posted at 8:20 PM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 23:03:22-04

SOUTHWEST, Fla. — One more reality check as we ease into a new month.

One in nine American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

175,000 men are diagnosed with this form of cancer, and 32,000 men dies as a result.

A quick review of the above numbers from the Prostate Cancer Foundation reveals the importance of getting screened.

But, there’s one factor that could stop you from making the decision to see your doctor: coronavirus.

Dr. Michael Dattoli of the Dattoli Cancer Center and Brachotherapy Research Institute in Sarasota says he understands what’s stopping some men from getting screened.

“Patients generally speaking are a little more hesitant to go into a doctor’s office thinking that they may catch something.”

He says changes to guidelines for screening in previous years has led to more diagnoses of prostate cancer at an earlier stage.

But the pandemic has now left many with a fear of going to the doctor.

“What I’m seeing again is advanced disease,” Dattoli tells FOX 4.

Dr. Chaundre Cross of 21st Century Oncology in Naples shared a similair experience.

“Unfortunately, COVID had an impact outside of just the infection.”

He reminds us that at the start of the pandemic, restrictions were placed on some procedures - including elective surgeries. For some patients, he says that meant not even getting a prostate cancer diagnosis.

Cross says he’s seeing the impact of that as patients make their way back to a doctor’s care.

“Now we’re seeing higher stages.”

Getting to the doctor sooner could help your physician identify changes to your prostate before it advances in stage.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation says 99% of this type of cancer is treatable if detected early

In April, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network suggested avoiding routine prostate cancer screening in men with no symptoms.

The foundation suggests talking with your doctor about next steps in screening and treatment.

The four doctors FOX 4’s consulted with through the month of September agree.

“Most people if there’s any concern about cancer…they need to go to a doctor”.

That advice comes from Dr. Adam Murphy.

He’s an associate professor of urology and preventive medicine at Northwestern University.

He says medical professionals and facilities have adapted to providing care amidst a pandemic, and your health does not need to suffer during this time.

“We’ve been dealing with this for several months now. And cancer is a priority.”

For more information on the Prostate Cancer Foundation and screening guidelines, click here.