Cancer screening rates return to normal
WEDNESDAY, March 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) – COVID-19 after early decline pandemic, regular breast rates and colon cancer the study was soon found to be at an almost normal level, a new study has found.
“These are the first findings that show that despite real fears about the consequences of being left on cancer screens, health facilities invented how to do this backup after initial pandemic reductions,” said study author Ryan McBain. He is a policy researcher at RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research organization.
For the study, investigators examined the insurance claims of 6.8 million U.S. adults (ages 45 to 64) filed between mid-January and July 31 last year.
After March 13, 2020, when a national pandemic emergency was declared, the median weekly rate of routine mammograms fell by 96%, from 87.8 per 10,000 beneficiaries to 6.9 per 10,000 in April. (Average means that half a week has been more, half less).
At the end of July, however, the rate returned to 88.2 per 10,000.
Meanwhile, conventional colonoscopy screening rates fell similarly, from 10,000% to 15.1% to 0.9%. While the rate rose to 12.6 per 10,000 at the end of July, it was not enough to offset the initial jump, according to findings released on March 19th. Journal of General Internal Medicine.
“Our research shows that health systems have been able to recalibrate resources and protocols in a relatively short period of time to provide these important services,” McBain said in a RAND news release.
Ordinary procedures, for example mammography and colonoscopy are essential for early detection and treatment of cancer, the study authors noted.
When routine procedures fell through, concerns arose that cancer diagnoses would be delayed, which would have serious health consequences. One researcher suggested that when rates rise again, those who delay the screening should be given priority.
“While it is reassuring to see rates of cancer return to pre-pandemic levels, we need to make sure that people with delayed prevention services are given priority so that they can get tested properly, especially if they are at higher risk for disease,” said the study’s author, Dr. Dena Bravata, Castlight Health- leading physicians at San Francisco-based companies focusing on access to care.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more cancer screening.
SOURCE: RAND Corporation, news, March 22, 2021