Friday Frontline: More than One-Third of Americans Missed Cancer Screenings Due to COVID-19 Fears, Couple Beats COVID-19 and Cancer, and More

From a new survey showing that more than one-third of Americans missed cancer screenings due to COVID-19 fears to a couple overcoming both COVID-19 and breast cancer, here’s what’s making the headlines in the cancer space this week.
 
BY Conor Killmurray
PUBLISHED July 31, 2020
A Prevent Cancer Foundation survey has shown that more than one-third of Americans have missed their scheduled cancer screenings due to COVID-19 fears.

A survey of more than 1,000 respondents found that 35% of Americans have missed their routine cancer screenings because of fears of contracting COVID-19. According to experts, many appointments have been missed as cancer centers have returned to inpatient screenings under new safety guidelines.

“Absolutely, we see that a lot of people are fearful of getting out,” said Dr. Therese Bevers, medical director of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in an interview. “They have either canceled and not rescheduled or postponed their cancer screening.”

Bevers continued by noting that patients who have been rescheduling since February need to “get serious” about getting their screening.

A public inquiry is going to look at issues relating to contaminated water and poor ventilation at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus in Scotland after safety concerns were raised.  

Molly Cuddihy contracted a rare infection while she was receiving treatment for bone cancer in 2018 at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children. Cuddihy’s case is one of 85 infections that are currently being investigated under the inquiry.

“That building itself is sick,” she said in an interview, adding that children and young adults were moved to a different ward where their condition improved.

The bacteria from the infection still impacts Cuddihy’s heart and lungs and is difficult to treat. Her parents are looking forward to getting answers from the inquiry as they wonder if they did enough to protect their child.

"Hopefully it will give us information that allows us to reconcile a bit better in our head what it is that exactly happened and, hopefully hold to account those - if there are those responsible - for neglecting the care, safety and wellbeing of our children,” Cuddihy’s father, John, said.

A couple married for 40-plus years has overcome COVID-19 and cancer together.

Both Robert and Janice Beecham tested positive for COVID-19 in March after Janice was just finishing surgery for a breast cancer recurrence. The COVID-19 diagnoses delayed Janice’s chemotherapy treatment, as they both had to quarantine.

"Once I got home, and we did the quarantine; I was getting progressively better but Janice still had issues with her health," Robert said in an interview. Luckily, Janice recovered from her mild symptoms and was able to finish her chemotherapy. Both said they are blessed to be alive and look forward to celebrating their 47th year of marriage.

A backpack with a special Build a Bear inside was recently stolen. With a little help from Ryan Reynolds and some good Samaritans, the backpack and the special message inside, is back to its rightful owner. 

Maria Soriano’s backpack, along with a Build a Bear with a special voice recording of her mother, was recently reported stolen. The value of the contents was likely priceless to Soriano considering what the voice recording says.

Soriano’s mother died of cancer last year and the Build a Bear has a special recording of her mom saying, “I love you, I’m proud of you, I’ll always be with you.”

After the backpack was reported stolen, Soriano’s story was shared on Twitter along with the hashtag “#FindMarasBear”. The story eventually reached Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds who retweeted the story and promised a $5,000 reward for anyone who returned it.

A week after the story went viral, a pair of good Samaritans reportedly took the bear back from the original thief and were able to return it to Soriano. Reynolds retweeted a picture of Soriano with her bear and a video of her hearing her mother’s loving words.

 
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