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Elective Surgeries Once Again Allowed in Most of Texas

Publication: KEYE-TV (CBS, Austin)

Elective surgeries are once again allowed in most regions in Texas.

That's part of Governor Greg Abbott's order Thursday, easing up the COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, nursing home and doctors. "Effective immediately, hospitals in those regions can return to ordinary elective surgical procedures," he said Thursday.

That means things like kidney stone surgery and knee surgery can resume in most parts of Texas -- and you may be surprised to find out that some cancer surgeries were considered "elective" too.

Governor Greg Abbott's announcement was good news for the doctors at Texas Oncology, like Dr. Helen Eshed, a gynecologic oncologist. "We do not want to have a delay in the care that people get for their cancer, because it can lead to poorer outcomes," she told CBS Austin. Now, Dr Eshed is free again to treat her patients without restrictions on elective surgery. "There was a period, where earlier cancers we could consider delaying those and providing medical treatment."

Now, the OR is open, but the pandemic has brought about other concerns. Not only are cancer patients technically immuno-compromised and therefore considered high risk when it comes to COVID, but cancer patients are coming in with more advanced disease. "Cancer screening is down 40 percent, which is significant. So, people are having a delay in diagnosis and as a result we're seeing people at more advanced stages," said Dr. Eshed.

It's important to note that cancer is the number two killer disease in the US -- ranked above COVID, which is the number three killer -- so doctors remind you not to overlook mammograms, pap smears, colonoscopies and the like. 

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