Fewer Kansans seeking routine medical care amid pandemic

Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 11:04 PM CDT
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El Dorado, Kan. (KWCH) - According to a U.S. Census Bureau survey, around 40% of Americans are delaying needed medical care due to anxiety about COVID-19. Kansas ranked 23rd on the list, with 39.5% of Kansans expressing discomfort with seeking care.

Taryn O’Brien-Ogg, an El Dorado woman who is battling cancer for the second time is encouraging people to not miss routine checkups.

“I had beat cancer the first time in the summer of 2016,” said O’Brien-Ogg. “I went through a mastectomy, didn’t have chemoradiation. Then I came back December of last year.”

She said if it hadn’t been for her regular checkups, things could have been much worse.

“If I didn’t find it and go through treatment I could get a much worse cancer in a more vital organ later.” said O’Brien-Ogg.

Doctors at Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital in El Dorado said since the pandemic started, they have seen a decrease in routine checkups, including cancer screenings

“When the country shut down, obviously nobody was going in for a screening,” said Dr. Barbara Luder. " The majority of elective surgeries which include breast cancer we’re being put off.”

Louder said this is not creating a backlog for hospitals around the country.

“It’s not fun when you get diagnosed with stage one breast cancer and you have to wait and wait for surgery because there was a backlog of cases.” Dr. Luder said.

The hospital’s general surgeon, Paul McKesey said he hopes people don’t ignore these preventive checkups.

“I know it’s scary to go into a place where there’s COVID,” said McKesey. “But here at SBA we test everybody before they come in.”

McKesey said his mother recently got diagnosed with uterine cancer and got treated in time.

“If she would’ve waited a few more months, it would be a different story we’re talking about here.” said McKesey.

The doctors also said the hospital is taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of the virus such as limiting visitors, wearing masks at all times, extra sanitizing and cleaning.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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