TUESDAY, March 22, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Most accredited cancer programs in the United States reported a decline in cancer screening during the pandemic, including colorectal cancer, according to a study published online March 21. in Cancer.
Rachel H. Joung, MD, of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and her colleagues conducted a nationwide prospective quality improvement study involving 748 accredited cancer programs in the United States from April to June 2021. The relative percentage change in monthly screening test volumes (MTVs) were calculated using local pre-pandemic and pandemic MTVs to describe the monthly screening gap.
The researchers found that most facilities reported deficits in monthly screening: 80.6, 69.0, 55.3 and 44.6% for colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, cancer breast and lung cancer, respectively. Variations were observed in the median relative percentage change in MTV: -17.7, -6.8, -1.6 and 1.2% for colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, cancer breast and lung cancer, respectively. No geographic differences were observed. For colorectal cancer screening, significant differences in percent change in MTV were observed between facility types.
“Although our preliminary data suggest variability in screening deficits between cancer sites, most hospitals in this study still have deficits in their MTV, especially with colorectal cancer,” the authors write. “We hope these findings and online resources will encourage others to identify and close screening gaps due to the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent unnecessary cancer-related deaths.
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