Join host Halena Gazelka, M.D., pain medicine specialist and medical director for Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, on the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast. From complex or serious conditions like cancer and heart disease to the latest news on research and wellness, Dr. Gazelka asks the questions and gets easy-to-understand answers from Mayo Clinic experts.

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Sep 9, 2020

Don’t delay cancer screenings

By Jennifer O'Hara, @jenohara


Cancer diagnoses have decreased since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to a recent study in JAMA.

"We can speculate that putting off routine screening tests means early cancers are not being detected," says Dr. Nabil Wasif, a Mayo Clinic surgical oncologist. He says this suggests that patients will eventually show up but with more advanced cancer.

Routine screenings are recommended for breast, cervical and colon cancer, as well as lung cancer if the patient is a smoker.

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Wasif, says patients are taking a risk by delaying screening.

To practice safe social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, this interview was conducted using video conferencing. The sound and video quality are representative of the technology used.

Connect with others talking about the pandemic and supporting one another in the COVID-19 support group and Cancer: Managing Symptoms group.


My OBG maintains that after the age of 70 no further cervical pap smears are required. is it tht at this age group cancers no longer expected to occur OR
a positive diagnosis is no longer considered worth treating? Would appreciate an opinion.


@friederike19– Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect! I no longer need one too! Yes, after the age of 70 pap smears are no longer necessary if your three previous tests have been normal. Risk factors include pre-cancerous cells in your cervix, a history of cervical cancer, or a weak immune system. Also, if you do not have a cervix due to a hysterectomy that also applies. See, there's something great about being over 70!

Have you had 3 consecutive normal pap smears?

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