Sexual health experts across Canada are concerned the COVID-19 pandemic may be causing women to neglect their reproductive care.
A global crisis isn’t the time to postpone essential appointments, they say.
“The message should be loud and clear that critical screening practices absolutely should continue,” said Dr. Lori Brotto, a psychotherapist and the director of the UBC Sexual Health Laboratory in Vancouver.
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“Women are on a fixed schedule for a reason and that regular surveillance is very critical.”
Pap smears that screen for cervical cancer and mammograms, which can detect breast cancer, are particularly important for women who either have a family history or have had irregular tests in the past.
Reasons for wanting to delay appointments during the pandemic can vary, Brotto said. Some may resist out of fear of visiting a medical facility while others are facing financial burdens that make accessing care and treatment more difficult.
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No longer having a job or health benefits to cover prescription medication like birth control can be particularly problematic.
Dr. Rachel Spitzer, an obstetrician/gynecologist at the University of Toronto and Mount Sinai Hospital,