NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many people have been putting things off during the COVID-19 pandemic, including regular health care, but experts say that’s exactly the wrong thing to do.

Many polls have shown that the number one health threat women worry about is breast cancer, so it’s somewhat surprising that many women are now actually more fearful of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s kept many away from the screenings and treatments that could save their lives.

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The key message from the Komen Foundation is: cancer doesn’t wait.

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“Cancer can be a killer. It still is a killer when it’s not detected early enough, and we have the tools to do that, but you have to come in,” said Dr. Donna-Marie Manasseh, the chief of breast surgery at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Manasseh told CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez what concerns her is that delaying breast screenings could mean that women present with a more advanced cancer with a poorer prognosis.

Manasseh says that every precaution is being taken to ensure patient safety, such as masks and temperature checks.

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Her take-home message to women?

“If you’re overdue for your mammogram, especially if you feel something or notice a change in the breast, it is critical that you do your mammogram to diagnose this. If something abnormal is seen, a procedure needs to be done, a biopsy is especially important to make sure that you do that biopsy and not wait for when we think the virus in the pandemic will abate,” Manasseh said.

She says it’s not just breast screenings that shouldn’t be delayed; it’s also colonoscopies, PSA tests for prostate cancer, even skin cancer checks are all still important and should not be put off.

Celebrating its 30th year, the Susan G. Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure takes place virtually starting Saturday, Sept. 12.

For more information, click here.

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