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COVID-19 and Cancer Screening

Information for patients and health professionals

Many cancer screening services are being temporarily suspended at this time to assist in efforts to minimize COVID-19 transmission in healthy people and to allow the health system to focus resources on urgent and emergent care.

Breast
Breast screening has been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 situation in BC. Find answers to common questions below.
 
 

Breast screening is a non-urgent test for asymptomatic women. If you have noticed any new changes in your breast please discuss with your health care provider.


A temporary suspension of breast screening supports physical distancing and will assist in efforts to minimize COVID-19 transmission in healthy people.


It will help hospitals redeploy and train essential service health-care workers so that they can respond to the potential for a surge of COVID-19 patients requiring acute care.

 

Breast screening services are temporarily being postponed until further notice.


Women with appointments will be notified that their appointments are canceled and put on a waitlist. They will be rebooked when a date for when services resume is announced.

 

Please do not go to your screening appointment. If you have not already been contacted, you will be notified that your appointment is canceled. You will be placed on a waitlist and your appointment will be rebooked when a date for when services resume is announced.

 

Appointments will be booked in priority order. You will be placed on a waitlist and rebooked when a date for when services resume is announced.‎

 

If you recently went for a screening mammogram, then you and your doctor will still receive the results.


If you require further testing, you will be contacted for diagnostic testing.

We recommend attending screening mammography when services resume. If you are on a waitlist you will be contacted to book an appointment when screening services start up again. You may call 1-800-663-9203 or visit this website at any time for updates.


If you have new breast symptoms please contact your doctor to discuss if testing now is appropriate for you.

‎Reminder notices for screening have been suspended at this time.
 
Patients with booked follow-up appointments at health authority facilities (ie. hospitals) will be contacted directly by the facility regarding cancellations or rebooking.



Colon
Colon screening is being affected by the COVID-19 situation in BC. Find answers to common questions below.

Many colonoscopies in BC are temporarily suspended in order to:

 

  • Reduce the risk of COVID‐19 transmission during the procedure and allow hospitals to better respond to the potential for a surge of COVID‐19 patients requiring acute care.

  • Support physical distancing, which will assist in efforts to minimize COVID‐19 transmission in healthy people.

  • Ensure that limited colonoscopy resources during the COVID‐19 outbreak are available to patients with urgent and emergent needs.

Most screening colonoscopies for asymptomatic people with a family history of colon cancer or personal history of adenomas are temporarily suspended.


Most follow‐up colonoscopies for people who have had an abnormal fecal immunochemical test (FIT) result are temporarily suspended.


If you are experiencing symptoms such as blood in your stool, abdominal pain, change in bowel habits, or unexplained weight loss, talk to your health care provider about diagnostic testing you may need to determine the cause of these symptoms. FIT is not appropriate for patients with these symptoms.

Your health authority will contact you if there are any changes to your appointment.


If you have questions about your appointment, use the information provided to you at the time of your appointment being booked to contact your health authority directly.

‎The FIT is a non-urgent, non-emergent screening test for people without symptoms.


FIT kits are not currently being distributed by the laboratories for the following reasons:

 

  • If you receive an abnormal result, you will not be booked for a follow-up colonoscopy until non-urgent, non-emergent services resume in BC. At this time, colonoscopies are being cancelled or re-booked to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission during the procedure and to allow hospitals to better respond to the potential for a surge of COVID-19 patients requiring acute care. At this time, colonoscopies are being cancelled or re-booked to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission during the procedure and to allow hospitals to better respond to the potential for a surge of COVID-19 patients requiring acute care.

  • Not going to a lab to pick-up or drop-off a FIT kit supports physical distancing which will assist in efforts to minimize COVID-19 transmission in healthy people.

  • Please do not visit your health care provider for the sole purpose of obtaining a lab requisition for FIT. Instead, wait until the FIT is available again.

  • If you are experiencing symptoms such as blood in your stool, abdominal pain, change in bowel habits, or unexplained weight loss, talk to your health care provider about diagnostic testing you may need to determine the cause of these symptoms. FIT is not appropriate for patients with these symptoms. 

If there are other tests recommended for you on the requisition you should go to the lab to have those tests completed.


You will not be given a FIT kit at this time.


The lab will provide you with a copy of the requisition for you to bring back to pick up a kit when non-urgent, non-emergent services, including FIT testing, resume.

‎If you’ve already picked up a FIT and completed it, do not return the kit. Do not dispose of the FIT in household garbage. Once non-urgent, non-emergent services are in place again, return the used FIT to the lab for safe disposal and you will be provided with a new FIT kit to repeat the test.

 

If you’ve picked up a FIT kit and have not completed it, do not complete the test. Wait until non-urgent, non-emergent services are in place again and complete and return the kit at that time.

It is uncertain how long the FIT testing suspension will be in place. We anticipate these changes will be in effect for atleast the next 8 weeks – until the end of May. Health services will be reassessed‎ at that time to determine if non-urgent, non-emergent services can be provided.


Updates or changes will be posted here, check back any time.

Yes, if you recently submitted a FIT to the lab, then you and your health care provider will still receive results.

 

Results will continue to be available on 'myehealth' if you are signed up for that service, and the Colon Screening Program will continue to mail you your result notice.

Your health authority has been sent a referral for pre-colonoscopy assessment. As the health authority staff are able, you will be contacted by phone regarding pre-colonoscopy assessment.


Once non-urgent, non-emergent services resume in BC, you will be contacted about when your colonoscopy will be booked.

‎Screening is only recommended for people who are not experiencing symptoms.

 

Symptoms can include blood in your stool, abdominal pain, change in bowel habits or unexplained weight loss. If you are experiencing these symptoms, talk to your health care provider about the diagnostic testing you may need to determine the cause of these symptoms. FIT is not appropriate for patients with these symptoms.

‎No. You should complete the test when non-urgent, non-emergent services in BC can be resumed.

 

Reminder notices for screening have been suspended at this time.


Patients with booked follow-up appointments at health authority facilities will be contacted directly by the facility regarding cancellations or rebooking.


Patients with symptoms should be reffered directly to a specialist for assesment. FIT is not required.

You can call 1-877-702-6566 if you have questions or visit this website at any time for updates.

 

 

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