BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Skipping cancer screenings is the route many people took during the height of the pandemic, and doctors say they’re noticing some serious consequences as a result. They’re urging people to rebook those appointments now.

Dr. Dona Hobart is the director of the Breast Care Center at Northwest Hospital in Milford Mill. She said especially in the spring of 2020, people put off their critical cancer screenings.

READ MORE: Kuzma, Beal Lead Wizards To 117-98 Rout Of 76ers

“People were afraid to go out for screenings,” Hobart said. “As we all know if you find cancer early, it’s easily treated, if you find cancer late, it’s not.

When the pandemic first started, hospitals were concentrating on treating covid patients. There were no systems in place for social distancing during routine exams.

But one cardinal rule stayed the same.

“You find a small little, tiny breast cancer on a mammogram, you treat that, and your survival rate is 98% at least most of the time,” Hobart said.

The reality is, the survival rate goes down the longer you wait.

READ MORE: Maryland State Police Respond To 46 Crashes, 50 Disabled Vehicles On Monday Following Winter Storm

That’s why Kim Bryant, a current patient at Northwest Hospital, made screening a priority.

“Because I was diagnosed as early as I was and treated as effectively as I was, my prognosis is great,” she said.

Bryant said if she had waited even a year, that wouldn’t necessarily be the case.

The longer you wait, the worse your condition becomes, unbeknownst to you – “and you can’t do anything about something you don’t know.”

It’s why doctors are encouraging people to return to their normal yearly exam schedule. And Dr. Hobart wants to stress that it’s safe.

MORE NEWS: Hundreds Of Saliva Samples Expire From Ripken Stadium COVID-19 Testing Site

There are covid protocols in place to be sure that you’re safe when you get your screening such as masking.

Rachel Menitoff