OSUCCC &ndash; James experts are here to help patients and caregivers as they continue their cancer journeys amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Today&rsquo;s topic: Cancer screenings during the pandemic Health care providers across the country have been limiting entry into hospitals and clinics amid COVID-19 as part of the nationwide physical distancing effort. While those measures are important for the flattening of the infection curve, the early detection of cancer through screening tests remains an important part of the work to save and improve lives of Americans &mdash; during and after the pandemic. &ldquo;Our hospitals and clinics are open. We&rsquo;re ramping up the number of screening visits and tests that we&rsquo;re doing,&rdquo; says OSUCCC &ndash; James Chief Medical Officer David Cohn, MD. &ldquo;I encourage everyone to schedule recommended screenings, and to contact their doctors about any symptoms that might necessitate examinations or tests. &ldquo;People should feel confident that their health care teams have taken steps to ensure their safety while undergoing cancer screenings, and shouldn&rsquo;t hesitate to schedule those tests to increase the odds of potentially life-saving early detection.&rdquo; Read on as Cohn shares info about the importance of cancer screenings, and steps health care providers are taking to ensure the safety of their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. What are cancer screenings? &ldquo;Screening involves the early detection of a cancer, when the chance of cure is the highest. Common screening tests include mammograms, colonoscopies and Pap/HPV tests, as well as screenings for lung and prostate cancers.&rdquo; How has COVID-19 changed cancer screening? &ldquo;When this pandemic began, a lot of changes were instituted at hospitals and clinics that aimed to limit the traffic through these sites, and that intended to maintain an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure that we had enough resources to care for patients when COVID-19 cases surged. &ldquo;This meant that we had to postpone previously-scheduled screening tests, and that we did not schedule new patients for screenings. However, care for our cancer patients, and other urgent and necessary care, continued.&rdquo; Moving toward a new normal &ldquo;There are now discussions at the federal, state and hospital levels about returning towards what we were doing before the pandemic, so we are reaching out to our patients to reschedule their cancer screenings. Because of the critical importance of screening to improve cancer outcomes, patients and health care providers need to work together to make sure these tests are being scheduled to minimize the number of advanced cancer cases resulting from delayed diagnosis.&rdquo; Call your doctor &ldquo;Anyone who has questions about screenings, whether those involve the rescheduling of appointments canceled because of the pandemic, or recommendations for first time or follow-up tests, should reach out to their health care providers. Those providers will be able to discuss each patient&rsquo;s individual circumstances, and suggest appropriate levels of screening.&rdquo; Is it safe to get screened now? &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of information that we&rsquo;ve learned about COVID-19 and its transmission, and we&rsquo;re using it to maximize the safety of our patients and health care workers. Our staff members continue to wash their hands with soap and water and use hand sanitizer when appropriate to reduce the risk of transmitting infections among individuals. &ldquo;And now, everyone inside our hospitals and clinics are wearing masks, including patients and staff who enter our clinics for screening tests.&rdquo; Get comprehensive information on COVID-19 and cancer &mdash; including important information and tips on nutrition, exercise and risk reduction &mdash; from OSUCCC &ndash; James experts.