An expert from Ochsner Health discusses the essential role positive lifestyle habits and regular screenings play in preventing cancer diagnoses.
Regular screenings and follow-ups along with reducing risk factors is imperative to preventing the development and spread of cancer; the consequences of avoiding such care may be evident in the number of cancer diagnoses following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Jonathan Mizrahi, MD.
In recognition of World Cancer Day, CancerNetwork® spoke with Mizrahi, a board-certified gastrointestinal medical oncologist at Ochsner Health in New Orleans, Louisiana, regarding where he feels the oncology field should be focused such as screenings and prevention, as well as other barriers to care that some populations may face.
Mizrahi suggested that there is still work to be done in addressing inequities in the United States related to access to healthcare and cancer screenings.
World Cancer Day is very important. It gives us a reminder of all the work we still need to do both here in the United States [and] globally. There are gaps and inequalities that exist internally. Here, there are disparities within our country of patients who have access to care and screening, and there are disparities that obviously exist between more developed countries and developing countries. We need to remember the effects of COVID-19, what they had on patients who were getting screened, and how that's going to affect the status of patients we're going to see down the line.
The best thing we can do for our patients is making sure they're getting screened and getting seen by their primary care doctors and being followed up regularly, as well as reducing their risk factors for developing cancers. By the time they're seeing me and my medical oncology colleagues, it's often too late. I'd rather have to see fewer patients because we're catching them early.
On World Cancer Day, [we must] re-energize our focus on prevention, screening, good lifestyle habits, and then moving the needle forward in terms of what therapies we can offer our patients who do get diagnosed with cancer.