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COVID-related delays in screening yielding higher late-stage breast cancer diagnosis rate

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | February 23, 2022
Endoscopy Women's Health

Another study published in January 2021 also showed a sharp decline in cancer screenings during the first three months of the pandemic in the U.S. and with it, a proportional reduction in average cancer diagnoses during that period.

While screening numbers rebounded soon after the first surge ended, even a three-month delay can significantly worsen patient prognosis, especially those afflicted with rapidly spreading types of cancer. For instance, lung cancer quickly metastasizes, making early detection and treatment critical for survival.
“It’s widely thought that fewer people were screened for cancer and precancerous lesions during the first surge of the pandemic because of limitations on non-urgent medical procedures, restrictions on patient volume, and patients’ concerns about the spread of the virus and the need for social distancing," said study co-author Dr. Ziad Bakouny, internal medicine resident at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in a statement at the time.

The findings of the UC San Diego study were published this month in JAMA Network Open.

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