Letters: Don’t let virus get in the way of treatment for cancer
Below is a letter from the leadership of the Louisiana Cancer Research Center published in the August 4 edition of The New Orleans Advocate, about the importance of maintaining your regular physician visits and health screenings, even during the pandemic. Excerpts were featured in our monthly newsletter.
Letters: Don’t let virus get in the way of treatment for cancer, other diseases
Cancer patients in Louisiana face an enormous, additional threat from COVID-19. Louisiana is already grappling with one of the nation’s highest cancer rates and this new health enemy is life-threatening to thousands of patients in our state, with up to 25,000 new cancer diagnoses projected this year.
During these extraordinary times, investigators from the Louisiana Cancer Research Center are collaborating with the National Cancer Institute and other research and medical institutions to conduct critically important research on how COVID-19 impacts cancer patients.
While our state’s preeminent scientists from Tulane School of Medicine, LSU Health Sciences New Orleans, Ochsner Health and Xavier University of Louisiana work in the lab and field to learn more about the virus, COVID-19 has taken a toll on the care and diagnosis of cancer patients, not only in Louisiana but across the United States.
The virus has posed enormous roadblocks to cancer treatments. The pandemic has and continues to force changes in elective surgeries, procedures and drug therapies as some hospitals and clinics have to concentrate resources to treat COVID-19 patients. Participation in cancer clinical trials decreased 38% nationally in June. Patients have postponed important cancer screenings.
These unavoidable delays have caused cancers to progress and patients are resuming or starting treatment in more advanced stages of their disease.
This further tragedy of COVID-19 is preventable and must not continue. The presence of COVID-19 should not deter any of us from seeing our physicians, undergoing regular checkups including cancer screenings or seeking emergency care. Medical facilities are now well-equipped to protect patients from potential exposures.
Be diligent in your own health care. Do not let fear of COVID open the door to more illness.
Dr. Larry Hollier Dr. Lee Hamm, III
LCRC Board Co-Chair LCRC Board Co-Chair
Chancellor Senior Vice-President and Dean
LSU Health – New Orleans Tulane Univ. School of Medicine
LCRC, Chief Administrative Officer