– COVID-19 has been at the forefront of people’s medical concerns this year, but the American Cancer Society says getting screened for cancer is more important than ever. 

Like going to the dentist or changing the oil in your car, the American Cancer Society says cancer screening should be a regular part of your life. At the onset of the pandemic, elective medical procedures, including cancer screenings, were largely put on hold to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 in healthcare settings. 

The best defense against cancer is finding it early, when it is easiest to treat.  Screening tests can be a tool to find cancer before a person ever has any symptoms. As COVID-19 became a medical priority, this caused a large drop in screenings. 

Cancer is a life-changing diagnosis, and the American Cancer Society also works to provide services for patients navigating the disease.

If patients have to travel away from home to receive the best care, ACS provides lodging for cancer patients and their families through the Hope Lodge and Extended Stay America Lodging Program. If patients do not have a means of transportation, Road to Recovery volunteers can provide rides for patients who have no way to get to their treatments.

As cancer can alter a patient’s appearance, the Tender Loving Care program provides affordable wigs, hats and accessories to help patients feel more like themselves. 

Additionally, the American Cancer Society provides the Cancer Survivors Network where cancer patients and caregivers can make connections with others who share similar experiences. 

These services, however, are made possible through American Cancer Society’s various fundraising opportunities throughout the year. Their annual fundraisers were canceled due to the pandemic, and they took a financial hit that they are still trying to recover from. 

Margen Gadd, the American Cancer Society Senior Development Manager, says the nonprofit is currently in need of volunteers and donations to fund these resources. 

Despite roadblocks, the organization says they will continue to spread awareness to the public that their services are available through funds, time and awareness. 

For more information on when and how to get screened, talk to your healthcare provider or contact American Cancer Society’s 24-hour help line.