WISCONSIN— While health care providers across Wisconsin continue to deal with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors and nurses continue to encourage patients who may have let their routine health care and screenings to slide over the past two years to get back on track
"We really do want to encourage everyone to get back to having their health screenings and exams, including your routine physical with your primary care provider, and getting your laboratory work," Dr. Shaneli Fernando, a radiation oncologist at ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center, said. "Your primary care provider can really guide you to the specific screening studies that you could need based on your age, based on risk factors like family history. So, yes— even though there could be some fear in that 'Maybe we've put things off longer than we should have,' I really want to encourage everyone to return to routine health maintenance."
To that end, Fernando especially wants women who delayed routine mammograms to schedule them again as soon as possible.
While some women initially delayed mammograms due to the pandemic, others put them off longer after various health care providers encouraged them to hold off after getting vaccinated against COVID-19— the vaccine appeared to swell certain patients' lymph nodes, leading to false positive cancer screenings.
"What we are finding now is that those lymph nodes, in most cases, really the majority of cases, are just benign, harmless," Fernando said. "It's just an immune response to the vaccine [and it] can actually hang around for not weeks, but actual months, maybe eight or nine months in a study that was just published, and we certainly don't want our patients putting off their screening mammograms that long."
Watch part of the interview above.