COVID-19 Causes Patients to Postpone Cancer Screening

The delay in diagnoses could lead to worse clinical outcomes.

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Millions of people are at risk from delaying cancer screening tests in their efforts to stay home and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But avoiding recommended check-ups and screening tests poses a secondary risk.

Early diagnosis is critical to improving cancer treatment outcomes, so with many patients putting off cancer screening appointments, they are decreasing one risk while increasing another whose outcomes can be equally severe. Cancer screening has dropped dramatically over the past months, including screenings for some of the more commonly diagnosed cancers, such as breast cancer and colon cancer.

cancer screeningWithout early detection, many cancers that could be more easily treated may reach advanced stages before being identified, leading to greater complications and worse health outcomes. Following this decline in screening from health care providers, we may see a rise in later stage cancer cases, resulting in more severe symptoms and a high number of cancer deaths.

Prevention remains the greatest cancer protection we have, which makes it vital for physicians to remind their patients about the screening options available to them. See the infographic below for a view of what our data tells us about the recent decline in cancer screening tests and the serious risk such delays pose to patients.

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