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Monroe health officials warn of potential surge in delayed cancer diagnoses



MONROE, La. – World Cancer Day is Thursday. It’s designed to bring awareness to the detection, prevention and treatment of all types of cancer.

This year, James Adams, executive director of the Northeast Louisiana Cancer Institute says many cancer screenings have had to be cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.

“It’s caused quite a delay in those screening tests, to the point where health experts are now thinking this could possibly be the next healthcare crisis we see as a nation,” Adams says.

“The earlier you can diagnose cancer, you have greater options for treatment. You have greater odds of a cure.”

Adams says there’s concern for that potential wave of delayed diagnoses. “So we want to encourage everybody in the community, you know, just because COVID is present, that doesn’t change the fact that that cancer is still out there for the last year.”

Donna Jackson, assistant director of the Louisiana Cancer Foundation, says a cancer is detected in at least 1 in 10 screenings.  For those patients diagnosed, she says the Cancer Foundation League is here to help.

“We’ve now helped over 5400 patients, and we’ve spent well over $2 million” to help cancer patients in northeast Louisiana and southeastern Arkansas receiving treatment in the area.

“Through the league, northeast Louisiana cancer patients can reach out for financial assistance no matter where they receive treatment.

“A cancer diagnosis is financially devastating, no matter how much money you make,” Jackson says. “And the Cancer Foundation league raises funds to help with medication, transportation and treatment, nutritional supplements, household bills.”

Adams says though no one wants to be diagnosed with cancer, the good news is there’s state-of-the-art equipment and staff right here in northeast Louisiana.

“Not only do we have the technology, we have the expertise, we have the board certified physicians, the staff that have been trained in these procedures. So it’s a great thing.

There will be breast cancer screenings later this month at the Northeast Louisiana Cancer Institute. The screenings will be February 18th and 19th. Workers will be following all safety protocols and will require masks. You can set up an appointment by calling 888-616-4687.