New cancer patients in Hyderabad at risk as they put off | Sidnaz Blog

Sidnaz Blog

HYDERABAD: Fears of contracting Covid-19 in hospital set-up may be the reason for new cancer patients not seeking timely treatment, but the disease is fast progressing without any medical intervention, top doctors said. As number of new cases being detected has gone down to a bare minimum, since mid-April this year, data shows footfalls of cancer patients have fallen to 20 per cent of the regular count.
Doctors said with the second wave waning, patients have begun to show up but in most cases they are showing stage migration — increase in stage of cancer. Many have ignored the symptoms of the diseases which may have led it progress faster to the next stage.
“Cancer is a semi-emergency as it keeps growing without causing problems for patients and hence many tend to overlook initial symptoms,” said Dr K Sreekanth, senior surgical oncologist at Yashoda Hospitals. “For instance, a patient might pass blood in stool, in urine or while coughing, might notice a lump in breast but not seek medical opinion which they would have otherwise,” Dr K Shreekanth said adding due to fear of Covid-19, many intend to wait till second wave is over. “But in these two-and-a-half months since there has been a significant decline in patient footfall, the disease would have progressed in many cases,” he said.
Other experts say that while patients ultimately have to seek medical opinion, many do not realise that cancer grows continually. In some cases it might be slow in others it could be aggressive. Such cases are already being reported across the city.
Speaking about the scenario with regards to breast cancer patients, director of KIMS Ushalakshmi Centre for Breast Diseases, Dr P Raghu Ram said, “We are getting such cases of upstaging of cancer already as patients have started coming since last one week. In case of breast cancer, usual presentation is a painless lump, (which) new patients often think is not urgent but in fact, the earlier they present to a doctor, the better the chances of survival.”
Dr Raghu Ram said that although in past two months, elective surgeries had been put on hold everywhere, patients who they had seen were put on neoadjuvant chemotherapy before surgery to buy more time. “In case of a future wave, patients should not delay visiting an oncologist as alternate treatment can begin even if surgeries are postponed,” he said.

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