PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The COVID-19 crisis isn't the only health concern facing our country.
The current pandemic has forced millions of people to put off their wellness exams and other health screenings, according to medical experts.
Bobby Adler of Phoenix has a number of health problems, but no interest in going to the doctor right now because of the coronavirus.
"Way too big of a risk," said Adler. "I don't want to get sick because that would be detrimental. This is a bad time to go to the doctor's office. Too many sick people and I don't want to go."
In fact, the 73-year old just got a letter from his doctor stating that it's time for his wellness exam and other medical tests, but Adler won't be making an appointment any time soon, and he's not alone. Routine cancer screenings and other preventative procedures have rapidly declined since the coronavirus crisis hit. A recent study shows colonoscopies, mammograms and cervical cancer screenings down nearly 70% nationwide. And that's raising concerns in the medical community that the long-term health of millions of people could be at risk.
Dr. Len Lichtenfeld is deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. He said that patients with current symptoms or a family history of cancer should not put off their health screenings any longer.
"It's a concern because we have delayed the diagnosis of cancer," said Lichtenfeld. "We find about 1.8 million new cases of cancer each year in the U.S., and if you don't screen for two to three to four months, there are a lot of patients that won't be diagnosed."
Dr. Lichetenfield said that patients in good health, who are not high risk, can likely delay their health screenings a little longer, but it's up to each individual to weigh their own risks.