BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As Americans get a handle on the coronavirus pandemic and managing life around it, health experts stress the importance of annual screenings and preventative care as restrictions lift.

The coronavirus pandemic has put non-urgent medical procedures on the back burner for many people across the country, meaning some people haven’t been getting routine health care procedures like cancer screenings. With September being Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, doctors are using the event to remind people not to skip important medical care.

Even with steps like temperature checks, masks and empty waiting rooms, some people are still reluctant to visit the doctor.

“I think we always fear the unknown, so just because of the magnitude, the scale of this infection and how quickly its hit us I think that’s one of the major reasons most everyone is apprehensive,” Dr. Mercy Jackson with Ascension Saint Agnes Medical Group said.

Jackson stresses routine screenings and appointments remain just as crucial as any other year.

“Cancer never waits, right? These medical conditions never wait,” he said.

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Breast cancer survivor Marlene Arthur is also urging people to get checked for cancer to catch potential red flags before they become a problem.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October last year, had surgery January this year,” she recalled.

In the case of breast cancer, mammography can detect possible issues early.

“The sooner we can detect something, the more modalities we have for a potential cure,” Jackson said.

Even during the height of the pandemic, Arthur said she never delayed or hesitated to come in for treatment.

“Early detection is the key to everything, that’s what happened to me,” she said. “It was early detection, they caught it early.”

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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