HealthLinks Charleston May/June 2022

84 | www. Char l es tonPhys i c i ans . com | www.Hea l thL i nksChar l es ton . com C H A R L E S T ON CO U N T Y M E D I C A L S OC I E T Y MAKING PREVENTION A PRIORITY By Isabel Alvarez Arata Dr. Dan Flaugher, board-certified family medicine provider at Berkeley Family Practice in Moncks Corner, believes that families need to make preventive health through annual physicals and wellness checks a priority. “Particularly in COVID times, a lot of the preventive care has been delayed, people aren’t going to the doctor unless they really need to, and, as a result, we’re detecting cancer later and, unfortunately, with worse outcomes,” he said. Dr. Flaugher is originally from Summerville. He attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, where he received a B.A. in biology. He worked for two years as a high school math and science teacher before attending Chicago Medical School. Dr. Flaugher moved back to the Lowcountry in 2013 to complete his family medicine residency at the Medical University of South Carolina and has been practicing at Berkeley Family Practice since 2017. “COVID-19 caused massive disruptions in every aspect of life, including personal, community, schools, education and health care,” said Dr. Flaugher. “As everyone was dealing with it in the best way they knew how, the pandemic created huge health care setbacks.” As published in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society, 748 accredited cancer programs reported decreases in screenings for colorectal, 80.6%; cervical, 69%; breast, 55.3%; and lung cancer, 44.6%, between April and June 2021, according to a study conducted by the American College of Surgeons Cancer Programs and the American Cancer Society. Before the pandemic, the medical community had a difficult time convincing patients to schedule routine screenings such as colonoscopies and mammograms because they are regarded as invasive and potentially uncomfortable. Because of the pandemic, many lifesaving screenings have been delayed one to two years and, as a result, patients are being diagnosed with more late stages of breast cancer, colon cancer and heart disease. “Primary health care has been put on hold,” said Dr. Flaugher. “But people need to get back in to see their primary doctor, get their physicals and well checks and schedule their cancer screenings.” As restrictions are being lifted, people are going back to the office and kids are back to school unmasked, families are feeling less apprehensive about the doctor’s office. While families play catch-up, doctors and health care systems must do “ “ People need to get back in to see their primary doctor, get their physicals and well checks and schedule their cancer screenings.