The total number of cancer screening trials received by women through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (Early Detection Program) decreased by 87% for breast cancer and 84% for cancer. of the cervix in April 2020 compared to the previous 5-year average for that month.
Prolonged screening delays associated with the COVID-19 pandemic can lead to delayed diagnoses, poor health outcomes, and an increase in cancer risk in women who have already experienced inequalities. the health.
“This study showed a decline in cancer screening among women with diverse and ethnic minority groups with low incomes when their access to medical services decreased with the onset of the pandemic, as by Amy DeGroff, PhD, MPH, CDC health scientist and lead author. ”They reinforce the need to safely maintain routine health care services during a pandemic, especially when the environment in health care meets the safety guidelines of COVID-19. “
The screening denials observed in the Early Detection Program are consistent with the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the spring of 2020. Factors that may have contributed to the declines at this time. including the site closure and the temporary suspension of breast and cervical screening services due to COVID19. The need or recommendation to stay at home and the fear of contracting COVID-19 may also prevent individuals from seeking health care services, including cancer screening.
Published in the journal Preventive Medicine, ang studyexternal icon examined the impact of COVID-19 on screening services in the Early Detection Program in January-June 2020.
- Decreases in breast cancer screening varied from 84% percent among Hispanic women to 98% among American Indian / Alaskan women.
- Decreases in cervical cancer screening varied from 82% among Black women to 92% among Asia Pacific Islander women.
- In April, the number of screening trials for breast cancer decreased in metro areas (86%), urban (88%), and rural areas (89%) compared to the same five -year average. The reductions for cervical cancer screening trials were 85% and 82% for metro and rural areas, and 77% for urban areas.
- Screening volumes began to recover in all groups in June 2020, the end of the observation period.
“The CDC urges health care professionals to help reduce testing delays by continuing routine cancer screening for women who have symptoms or are at high risk for breast cancer. or cervix, “says DeGroff. “The Early Detection Program can help women overcome health equity barriers by educating them about the importance of routine screening, addressing their concerns about COVID-19 transmission, and helping them safe access to screening through interventions such as patient navigation. “