Sharp decrease in cancer patient referrals; Doctors concerned

Doctor listening to patient's heart
Doctor listening to patient's heartVitalikRadkoDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Doctors at the Antoni Leeuwenhoek Hospital are very concerned about the decrease in the number of cancer patient referrals they received this year. In May, the number of referrals decreased by 30 percent compared to last year, from 1,040 to 738. The number of referrals for skin cancer fell by 49 percent, De Telegraaf reports.

Regular healthcare started up again in May, after being brought to a near halt by the coronavirus crisis. But the number of referrals are still lagging behind. This is concerning because, especially with cancer, early detection is crucial for successful treatment.

Internist-oncologist Emilie Voest told the newspaper that the low referral rate is likely because people are still afraid to go to the doctor, worried about getting the coronavirus or overtaxing already busy doctors. "But it is really safe to go now," she said to the newspaper.