Healthcare Economy

Where Did Heart Disease and Cancer Go as COVID-19 Spread?

The focus of medical discussions in America has largely turned to the causes, symptoms, deaths, and cures for COVID-19. Lost to a signficant extent in the discussion about health is what remains the greatest causes of death in the country–heart disease and cancer. As a matter of fact, people are less likely to go for care and diagnoses of these illnesses, due to fear of infection.

Cancer killed 599,108 Americans, according to the most recent year for which the CDC posted complete numbers. Heart disease killed 647,457. Some of the risks for COVID-19 deaths and the two others are common. People who are older are at greater risk along with those who have heart problems, respiratory issues, and are obese.

In a recent interview, Dignity Health thoracic surgeon Dr. Costanzo DiPerna commented that “Many patients are concerned about coming to visit us, to be screened for cancer, to be surveilled for their previous cancers we’ve taken out.” His analysis has been echoed time and again around the country. People with cancer who wait for treatment are much more likely to get sicker, or even die. Another issue is that hospitals and doctors financially burdened by the spread of COVID-19 may never see these patients at all That causes people who are sick with heart disease and cancer to look for treatment elsewhere.

The American Heart Association warned about the problem. Deaths from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes actually spread as COVID-19 did. In an analysis, the Association pointed out:

The CDC reported in late June that in the 10 weeks after the pandemic was declared a national emergency on March 13, hospital emergency department visits declined by 23% for heart attacks, 20% for strokes and 10% for uncontrolled high blood sugar in people with diabetes.

The dangerous health effects and deaths for these diseases did not go away. But, in many ways, they were put on the back burner.