Dr. Bindi Dhesy is concerned about the impact COVID-19 is having on breast cancer diagnoses and treatment. 

Dhesy, a medical oncologist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC) and a BRIGHT Run executive member, says it appears some patients with symptoms have delayed seeing their doctors and having diagnostic tests because they’re worried about getting COVID. 

The result, she says, is that some patients are coming to the cancer centre with more advanced cancer than in the past. 

We are seeing more cases of women presenting with advanced breast cancers, this is a real concern for treatment outcomes. 

Last month, the BRIGHT Run eNews talked to Kathleen Bell, manager of the JCC’s CIBC Breast Assessment Centre (BAC), who said that from mid-March until the end of June, Ontario Health – Cancer Care Ontario (OH-CC0) announced cancer screening programs would be deferred to help decompress the health system in preparation for potential increased demand on hospital resources due to COVID-19. 

But since July, the BAC has been ramping up, with a gradual return to 100 per cent capacity and a range of safety measures in place to protect patients and staff. 

Early detection is a key to positive treatment outcomes, Dhesy says, so it’s important to get checked, especially if you have symptoms. 

“Talk to your doctor and follow up with testing and screening,” she said
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