Cancer screenings decline during the pandemic

The CDC reports there's been a sharp decline in cancer screenings since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 3:29 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The CDC reports says there’s been a sharp decline in cancer screenings since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A study from the Journal Of Preventive Medicine says there was an 87% decline in breast cancer screenings and an 84% decline in cervical screenings during 2020.

Some factors that may have caused the decline in annual screenings include the closure of screening sites and fear of contracting COVID-19.

This means people may not receive the diagnosis they need and detect cancer early. The five-year survival rate for breast cancer that is detected early is 98%, according to The Canary Foundation.

One Mercy Medical Center Surgical Oncologist says the decline from the pandemic will have long-term impacts on cancer care.

“The long term will have a significant impact and cancer outcome and cancer death rates, for example, and we won’t know some of those impacts for years to come. What we do know is that the preliminary data is already showing that that is the direction in which you’re headed,” said Dr. Vincent Reid.

Reid says it’s to start scheduling these appointments again.

“Hospitals certainly can mitigate risks. That’s what we do on a day-to-day basis, I don’t think individuals should put off necessary cancer screening because I think this could lead to devastating outcomes,” said Reid.

Mercy Women’s Center offers walk-in mammograms Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a doctor’s written order.

A list of suggested routine cancer screenings per age and gender can be found here.

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