Cases of cancer and other serious illnesses could rise because of a fall in testing at the height of the coronavirus crisis.
The biggest private pathology laboratory in Canberra is doing 450 fewer tests for cancer a week than it did last year because people have stayed away from doctors.
This time last year, the Capital Pathology lab was doing about 120,000 tests of all kinds a week for patients in Canberra and the wider region.
With the crisis, that's dropped by a third to 84,000 tests.
This means early diagnosis of fatal diseases could have been missed in many cases.
"If you had a bowel polyp for example, we'd like to diagnose that sooner rather than later," Dr Paul Whiting, Medical director of Capital Pathology, said.
He is also concerned that people have foregone tests for diabetes - and that puts them at greater risk of kidney failure.
"There's a lot of disease monitoring that patients have not been participating in like they normally would - for example, cancer diagnosis, cancer screening, monitoring of chronic diseases such as diabetes.
"It's very important to get your skin checks done. It's much better for patients when you find a skin lesion earlier rather than later."
He fears that the result will be worse health problems in some months time when serious diseases emerge which could have been spotted earlier.
He is urging people to resume tests and reassuring them that conditions are of the utmost safety.
When the coronavirus in Canberra was at its height towards the end of March, people were told not to go out unless it was absolutely necessary.
It seems that many kept away from doctors' surgeries, on the basis of that advice and because they feared contact with other people.
That message to start taking tests now was echoed by the association of Canberra GPs.
"You are at a far higher risk if you've got blood in your urine or a lump in your breast or a funny looking mole and you stay home than if you consult your GP," Dr Antonio Di Dio, president of the Australian Medical Association in the ACT, said.
"That is far safer than staying home."
Dr Di Dio said the onset of the virus crisis saw a big drop in the number of patients coming to surgeries. There was a rise in the numbers seeking remote advice by video or phone - but not enough to offset the drop.
But numbers are coming back and confidence returning. GPs are being flexible in that they are prepared to meet patients in the car-park, for example.
Testing for cancer or blood tests demands face-to-face meeting with a doctor or nurse and that's why the number of tests has fallen, essential though they be.
Dr Di Dio urged Canberrans to take the tests they may have postponed.
He said that applied to existing conditions like diabetes where people might have put-off their three monthly test as well as to potential illnesses not yet diagnosed.
Capital Health Network which assesses Canberra's health needs on behalf of the territory and federal governments urged people to resume consultation with GPs.
"Our message is for people to please continue to visit your general practitioner," Megan Cahill, the network's chief executive, said.
"It's really important for you to ensure that your regular care is continuing. It's particularly important for cancer."
The Canberra concerns are echoed nationally. "Collection centres are accredited to national quality and hygiene standards and are safe for people to attend," Dr Michael Dray, the President of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australia, said.
"Social distancing and other stringent hygiene measures are practices within these centres to limit the spread of Covid-19 and to ensure that patients can access their tests safely."