WALLINGTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — More than a year into the pandemic, doctors are discouraged by a persistent problem — people are still delaying routine medical appointments or skipping them altogether.
It’s leading to serious health consequences for some.READ MORE: Nonprofit Distributes Grants To Help First Responders Get Mental Health Support: 'It's OK To Not Be OK'
At almost 83 years old, Frances Wolf has plenty of wit and a lot of precious people in her life.
“Nine grandsons, three great-grandsons and three great-granddaughters,” she said.
Staying healthy for them has been a priority, but in the last year, the Wallington woman found herself delaying important medical appointments, including a scan of her lungs, for fear of catching COVID.
“I was just sitting here, playing my puzzles, watching my television. I had no intention of going,” she told CBS2’s Jessica Layton. “I didn’t want to go near the hospitals.”
Finally, her doctor called and convinced her it was more dangerous to not come in.
“Sure enough, there was a tumor. Sticking out of the lung and, like, almost butting the heart,” Wolf said.
“Had she waited even a little bit longer, what could have happened?” Layton asked Dr. Nora Tossounian, with Hackensack Meridian Health.READ MORE: The Bond Of Sisterhood: Long Island Woman Donates Kidney To Ailing Sibling And Later Carries Her Baby
“Obviously, we would be worried about metastasis,” Tossounian said.
A new report from the Urban Institute shows 1 in 3 adults went without medical care this past year. Doctors say it’s become a major problem during the pandemic.
Tossounian says screening and cleaning procedures are top notch and they need to see patients in person because some serious conditions can’t be detected with a virtual visit.
“Such as nodules on the thyroid or a mass in the abdomen,” she said. “Early diagnosable conditions such as heart disease and cancer.”
Thankfully for Wolf, they caught the cancer before it spread.
“What would you say to those people who are still so nervous?” Layton asked.
“Go take care of yourself,” Wolf said. “I did what I had to do and thank God I did do it.”
Because her family is counting on her to live a lot longer.MORE NEWS: Suffolk County Company Out To Help People With Autism Who Have Aged Out Of School Find Employment
CBS2’s Jessica Layton contributed to this report.