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25-08-2020 | Oncology | News | Article

News in brief

Cancer diagnoses in USA fall during COVID-19 pandemic

Author: Shreeya Nanda

medwireNews: US researchers report “a significant decline” in the numbers of new diagnoses of six tumor types following the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.

Using testing data from Quest Diagnostics (Secaucus, New Jersey) on 278,778 patients from across the USA, they found that the average weekly number of newly identified patients with breast, colorectal, esophageal, gastric, lung, or pancreatic cancer fell by 46.4% between 1 March and 18 April 2020 compared with the baseline period of 6 January 2019–29 February 2020.

The decline in diagnoses was significant for each of the tumor types, with mean weekly reductions ranging from 24.7% for pancreatic cancer to 51.8% for breast cancer.

The reduction “had generally leveled” across the tumor types by the week beginning 22 March, comment Harvey Kaufman and colleagues from the company in a research letter to JAMA Network Open. But they note that “[t]he delay in diagnosis will likely lead to presentation at more advanced stages and poorer clinical outcomes.”

And Kaufman et al conclude: “Our findings are consistent with previous research, and they call for urgent planning to address the consequences of delayed diagnoses.

“Planning may entail more robust digital technology to strengthen clinical telehealth offerings and other patient-clinician interactions, including self-service scheduling across specialties and well-designed collection processes.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2020 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

25 August 2020: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

JAMA Netw Open 2020; 3: e2017267

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