After New Yorkers spent months under lockdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, cancer treatments and screenings have dropped dramatically as a result. Now, health experts are urging patients to make necessary appointments for either missed treatments, or prevention screenings. Doing so, they say, will save lives.

In an interview with NY1’s Roma Torre, Doctor Jeffrey Drebin, the chair of the surgery department at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), warned of the long-term impact on cancer patients unable to receive the care they need.

He said in many cases an early diagnosis gives a patient the best opportunity to beat cancer, and that the drop in screenings and cancer treatment appointments because of the pandemic will result in more deaths.

Doctor Drebin added that COVID-19 should not prevent people from scheduling appointments and said MSK routinely tests all patients for coronavirus before they come in. Staff is also tested. 

Drebin said it's been almost three months since a patient became infected with COVID-19 while undergoing treatment at MSK. He said that makes coming in even more safe than grocery shopping.

Drebin also said MSK is offering both an initial visit and follow up visits for people either via telemedicine, or in-person.