By Ivy Razmus, RN, PhD, CWOCN
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has left many people with free time on their hands as other activities are cut to avoid exposure to the virus. What if we used this time during the pandemic to strengthen screening for cancers? When later-stage cancers are discovered, patients often undergo surgery with open wounds, new stomas, and other risk factors for infection. These wounds may require wound vacuum devices, complex dressing changes, increased nursing time, and in some cases an increased length of hospital stay. After discharge, these patients often require care in a skilled nursing facility to help them transition to home care. Can we prevent ostomies and wounds by making screening more accessible? Further, the diagnosis of cancer can lead to hospitalization and an increased need for adjuvant therapy such as chemotherapy or radiation, which weakens the immune system.