Some Cancer Screenings Remain Lower Than Pre-Pandemic Levels!

Surges in COVID-19 infection rates appear to be the cause for cancer screening levels not returning to pre-pandemic levels, according to a recent study in JAMA Network Open.
The analysis of 1.6 million Medicare patients screened for breast cancer and 3.7 million Medicare enrollees screened for lung cancer from March 2020 through July 2022 shows that:
  • Although there was a rebound after the first year of the pandemic, screenings fell below expected rates in year two.
  • The low-dose computed tomography scans were 24% lower in the first year and 14% fewer in the second year as compared to before the pandemic.
  • Mammography rates were 17% and 4%, respectively, lower than expected.
The study's findings show an association of lower screening rates with the surges of COVID-19 infections in late 2021 and early 2022 with the Delta and Omicron variants.
As you know, delays in cancer screenings may lead to a delay in diagnosing cancers in your patients. Encourage your patients to keep up on their cancer screenings and reassure them that the healthcare environment is safe.  
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