publication date: Oct. 23, 2020

Clinical Roundup

Study: COVID-19 substantially reduced cancer screenings, diagnosis and treatment

A study conducted by Avalere Health shows a considerable drop in cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment for American seniors and Medicare beneficiaries in 2020.

Oncologists who were part of the study’s research team say they are already starting to see the traumatic results, as cancers are caught at later stages requiring more complex treatments, resulting in higher morbidity or death.   

The study was published in JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics.

The study, conducted for Community Oncology Alliance by Avalere Health, examined the billing frequencies from March-July 2020 for common cancer procedures, including screenings, infusion therapies such as chemotherapy, surgeries, and radiation therapy. It found significant reductions in breast (-85%), colon (-75%), prostate (-74%), and lung cancer (-56%) screenings at the first peak of the pandemic in April 2020, compared with April 2019.

In the early days of the pandemic, shelter-in-place orders and patient concerns about COVID-19 caused a massive drop in common, preventative screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, as well as the cancer therapies and surgical procedures that occur as a result. While this reduction in services was expected as lockdowns took place, several cancer care providers have reported first-hand that they have not seen the complete resumption of services as states have reopened, as reflected in the analysis in the continued reductions in utilization of key cancer services through latter months of 2020.

“The decrease in screenings, diagnosis, and treatments this year will lead to later stage cancers for patients, increasing morbidity and mortality for years to come. We need to detect cancers and stop them before it is too late. We … Continue reading Study: COVID-19 substantially reduced cancer screenings, diagnosis and treatment

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Copyright (c) 2020 The Cancer Letter Inc.