BOSTON (CBS) – For the past two months, hospitals across the nation have been consumed with the fight against coronavirus. And many would-be patients, with other medical conditions, have put off procedures for fear of contracting the virus in the hospital.

“There’s a bit of a backlog in health care right now,” said Dr. Matt Yurgelun, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “Things that are truly elective have been put off.”

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Jim Nauen, who has stage 3 cancer, said he is very “sensitive” to social distancing. (WBZ-TV)

While Dana-Farber focuses on fighting cancer, here, too, COVID-19 has changed things. Patients can no longer be accompanied by a loved one. And every patient is screened when they walk in.

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“Having a compromised immune system as a cancer patient makes you more sensitive to social distancing,” said Jim Nauen, who’s undergoing treatment for stage 3 cancer at Dana-Farber. “Most recently, my tumor has been reacting very favorably to chemo treatments, so now surgery as a cure is an option.”

Doctors across the state are expecting an uptick in returning patients, and new ones, when the COVID-19 numbers start going down. They say it’s not always wise to put off some treatments.

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“We in the medical community have to be ready to ramp back up safely and not keep kicking the can down the curb,” said Dr. Yurgelun.

Bill Shields