Restarting cervical screening programs during and after the COVID 19 pandemic

Students are wearing face masks while sitting on a bench and walking on the Campus Green during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease) pandemic, April 2021. Photo by Lexi Coon

At the height of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, hospitals and clinics had to make the decision to put other health concerns and issues on the back-burner to accommodate the rise in patients fighting the virus. Annual checkups and other medical appoints utilized platforms such as Telehealth to adapt to social distance policies while still being able to have face-to-face interactions with their patients. Many screenings and procedures were rescheduled for later dates due to hospitals being at max capacity, and cervical cancer screenings were no different. In an interview with Doctor Silvia De SanJose, MD, PhD on hpvworld.com, the impact the pandemic has had on cervical cancer screening activities was discussed. See an a snippet of the interview below.

Has the pandemic affected cervical cancer screening activities?
Cervical cancer screening programs have been curtailed almost everywhere worldwide. Many of my collaborators in low resource settings have re-allocated their screening personnel or the staff members have been sent home because of various levels of lockdown. Cancer screening has temporarily stopped being a priority […]

Should we still promote cervical cancer screening during the pandemic?

[…] The screening visit aims to protect her in the years to come; cervical cancer typically takes years to develop and a brief delay in screening will impact a small fraction of women. In this case there is not a priori an emergency and most likely, for most women, that visit could be safely postponed. However, considering that SARS-CoV-2 will prevail worldwide for an extended period of time, we need to design, as much as possible, an environment for such screening visits […]”

In short, cervical cancer should still be a priority. New methods that allow for the safety of cervical cancer screenings in the midst of the pandemic should be sought out, ones that emphasize accessibility, effectiveness, safety, and comfort for patients.

View the full article here: Restarting Cervical Screening Programs during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic

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