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28-11-2022 | COVID-19 | News

News in brief

Cancer screening uptake fails to return to prepandemic rates

Author: Lynda Williams


medwireNews: The rates of population-based screening and diagnosis of breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer in the USA in 2021 remained below those reported before the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers caution in a research letter to JAMA Oncology.

Although Allison Oakes (Trilliant Health, Brentwood, Tennessee, USA) and co-workers identified a quick rebound in screening rates after the initial pandemic measures, they say that “the longer follow-up time reveals that gaps in preventive cancer screening returned and worsened.”

The team used information collated from the Trilliant Health claims and encounters database used across the USA on patients aged 21–85 years who underwent guideline-concordant screening between January 2017 and December 2021.

The median quarterly rate of prepandemic screening mammography fell by 40% between Q1 of 2017 and Q2 of 2020 (8216 vs 4951 procedures per 100,000 beneficiaries). The rate increased in Q3 and Q4 of 2020, but declined again in Q2 of 2021, to a median of 7374 procedures per 100,000 beneficiaries, and the Q4 rate continued to be below prepandemic levels.

A similar pattern was identified for the cervical cancer and colorectal screening rates, the researchers say.

Moreover, the prevalence rate of the three tumor types fell by 6.0–7.1% between 2019 and 2020, and by 4.8–6.1% between 2020 and 2021, Oakes et al report.

“The pattern we found suggests a substantial proportion of forgone care through 2021,” the authors conclude.

“To mitigate long-term consequences, multiple stakeholders will need to consider novel strategies and dedicate appropriate resources to increase guideline-concordant cancer screening.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2022 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

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JAMA Oncol 2022; doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2022.5481