One out of three of us are delaying our health screenings

September 20, 2021

Earlier this month, Senator Amy Klobuchar wrote a post on Medium confirming that she underwent treatment for breast cancer in February.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports Klobuchar, 61, "was sitting in her apartment in Washington, D.C. waiting to cast a vote on the pandemic federal stimulus package when she got the news."

In her post, she points out that more than one in three adults reported delaying or forgoing health care because of coronavirus-related concerns. Over and over, doctors are seeing patients who are being treated for more serious conditions that could have been caught earlier, like the one in three who may be living with undetected breast cancer.

She used her profile and platform to call attention to the fact that many people have delayed their physicals and routine wellness exams by admitting that she had delayed hers. The pandemic was her excuse–and likely a lot of other peoples’–and while it’s a valid one while we’re all juggling competing work and family upheaval, your health won’t wait for “normality” to return.

While it would be preferable if she avoided a cancer diagnosis entirely, Klobuchar’s story serves as a reminder of the value of preventative wellness exams.

That’s where your primary care doctor comes in. During your wellness exam, they’ll get to know your personal and family health history and create a screening plan that’s tailored to your unique risk factors. 

Your doctor looks at you as a whole person, not just as a collection of symptoms: your physical, mental and emotional health is taken into account, as well as any lifestyle factors like your diet and exercise, stress levels and environmental exposures.

The good news is that Klobuchar’s surgery and radiation was successful and her cancer was caught at an early enough stage to not need extensive treatment. While the thought of screening for serious disease is scary, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Your primary care doctor is here to give you all the care and information you need to be as well as you can be. They’re on your team.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment, or before starting a new healthcare regimen and never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you've read on this website.

Photo by Nonso Emmanuel Biose on Unsplash