COLUMBUS, Ohio ­&ndash; The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center &ndash; Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC &ndash; James) is teaming up with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network&reg; (NCCN), the American Cancer Society (ACS) and other leading cancer organizations across the country to endorse the resumption of cancer screening and treatment during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The coalition of 76 organizations has released an open letter reminding the public that cancer still poses a major threat to people&rsquo;s health. They note that acting as soon as is safely possible to obtain preventative cancer screenings and needed treatments, however, can lead to better outcomes in the future. The letter examines distressing trends showing a significant drop-off in recommended cancer screening and treatment compared to prior years. This concerning side effect of the pandemic could lead to a staggering number of preventable cancer deaths over the next ten years and beyond. Oncology experts agree that people should not delay any necessary prevention or care. &ldquo;We have reliable cancer screening tools available for colorectal, cervical, breast and prostate cancer, as well as lung cancer screening protocols for individuals who are at increased risk for this disease based on smoking history. It is so important that people continue to get timely cancer screenings to improve chances of detecting cancer in its earliest &mdash; if not precancerous &mdash; stages,&rdquo; said David Cohn, MD, MBA, chief medical officer for The James and a gynecologic oncologist. &ldquo;The last thing we want is for people to avoid seeking medical help and to present with advanced-stage disease that is more difficult to treat,&rdquo; adds William Farrar, MD, chief executive officer of the OSUCCC &ndash; James and a surgical oncologist. Robert W. Carlson, MD, chief executive officer of NCCN, notes that when the pandemic first hit the United States, a short delay in care was an appropriate choice for many cancer types. However, he says, the balance of risk has shifted significantly. &ldquo;We now have two impressive vaccines that are being distributed around the world. We also know much more about how to treat and prevent COVID-19. Cancer centers are taking multiple measures to protect patients and staff from COVID-19, and transmission within cancer centers is quite unusual. Meanwhile, far too many cancers are being left to grow unchecked. Postponing cancer care will add tragedy on top of tragedy,&rdquo; said Carlson. &ldquo;It is of the utmost importance that critical cancer screenings resume as soon as safely possible,&rdquo; said William G. Cance, MD, chief medical and scientific officer of the American Cancer Society. &ldquo;Over the past decade, we have seen overall cancer mortality rates drop dramatically. This decline is in large part due to screening&rsquo;s ability to catch cancers before they spread &mdash; when the chances of good outcomes are most likely. We have come too far in our fight against cancer to allow long breaks in vital screening to slow down our progress in saving lives.&rdquo; Hospitals and medical systems across the country have already begun vaccinating health care providers among other measures to ensure a safe environment for people receiving cancer screening and treatment. The confirmed use of evidence-based precautions against COVID-19 should provide reassurance against fears of infection during necessary medical care. The letter points out that researchers around the world have made tremendous strides in controlling cancer in recent years. Leading oncology experts are now asking everyone, in coordination with their health care provider, to resume preventive and prescribed care and contact their doctor right away about any new symptoms or concerns. Cancer Screening and Testing at Ohio State Cancer screening exams are available through the OSUCCC &ndash; James and can be made by calling 1-800-293-5066. In addition, the OSUCCC &ndash; James has launched a Cancer Diagnostic Center to give individuals with a new cancer diagnosis direct, expedited access to diagnostic testing. The goal is to provide immediate, community-wide patient access to cancer providers for anyone with a suspected cancer, especially in communities where access to health care is limited and has become even more challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic. &ldquo;We are doing everything we can to make The James a safe haven for our patients to obtain cancer care,&rdquo; said Dr. Cohn. He noted that while The James has resumed in-person care, many patient follow-up appointments have been transitioned to virtual visits to reduce the number of trips a patient has to make to the hospital. Cancer hospital clinical operations have been modified on a clinic-by-clinic basis to reduce points of contact. In addition, the hospital continues to follow strict infection risk practices, including limiting visitors to the hospital, masking for all staff and frequent handwashing.