It won’t surprise you that COVID-19 has had a widespread effect on our day-to-day activities in the US—including missing out on important routine check-ins. As an oncology practice, we see the benefits of preventative screenings and early detection every single day, as well as the risks of delaying them.
Case in point—a recent study published late last month in JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics. Researchers compared data from 28 million patients at 20 US hospitals between the January and April 2019 and January and April 2020 time periods.
Consistent with changes in behavioral patterns related to COVID-19, they observed monthly declines in cancer screening visits—culminating in the largest declines in April 2020. Tests most impacted include breast imaging and colorectal cancer screening. Subsequent decreases in diagnoses were also observed. While the authors noted that patients being screened for cancer recurrence were less likely to miss visits, decreased diagnoses were seen in both new and recurrent patients.
These trends indicate future risks including 1) potential bottle necks for routine screening; and 2) diagnosis of new or recurring cancer that at more advanced stages.
Talk to your medical provider today about staying on track with your recommended preventative screening testing and plan to take precautions to prevent COVID-19 exposure when keeping those appointments!
Virginia Cancer Specialists Dietitians