Cancer Check Up

Post-COVID, cancer screenings, and diagnosis lag behind. This could lead to delays in treatment

U.S. data released on Thursday suggests that screenings for common cancers have not returned to pre-pandemic levels. This could lead to an earlier diagnosis, which may make it more difficult to treat.

According to an analysis of medical claims data involving 306 million adults, the 2020 pandemic year saw the average screening rates for breast cancer fall by 40%, 36% for cervical cancer, and 45% for colorectal carcinoma.

Researchers also discovered that the incidence of colorectal, breast, and cervical cancers decreased by approximately 6% to 7 percent between 2019 and 2020, and an additional 5% or 6% between 2020-2021.

According to Allison Oakes, a study leader at Trilliant Health in Brentwood Tennessee, the decrease

in cancer diagnoses does not necessarily mean that these types of cancers are less common. It means that more people will be diagnosed with cancer at a later and more severe stage.

Researchers reported in JAMA Oncology that screening rates had increased by the end of 2021 but remained below levels pre-pandemic.

Oakes stated that a continuing analysis of 2022 data indicates that screening rates for 2022 will not have significantly improved.

“We do not see significant changes in behavior when looking quarter-over-quarter,” she added.

According to the study, this issue seems to extend beyond cancer testing.

Oakes stated that healthcare utilization for non-COVID and non-mental-health problems was 6.2% lower in the first quarter of 2022 than it was in the first three months of 2019.

Oakes stated that people are not only missing their annual screenings for cancer but are also using less primary care.

“While Americans seem to be returning to their normal daily lives, whether they are at work or on vacation, many Americans still avoid the healthcare system.”

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