How has the pandemic affected cancer screening and treatment? Elizabeth Tracey reports

January 10, 2022

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Both cancer screening and diagnosis are down quite a bit from prepandemic levels, a study of Veterans Administration hospitals shows. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, reviews the data.

Nelson: There was a significant distraction in the normal utilization of healthcare resources. A lot of that included cancer screening and some of the surgeries. This takes stock of what the impact has been. Colonoscopies down 45%, prostate biopsies looking for prostate cancer down 29 to 30%, screening CT scans for lung cancer among heavy smokers down 10%. New cancer diagnoses were down 13 to 23%. Could that be good? Well if there was less cancer it could be good. If it’s just we’re detecting it less that’s obviously not going to be good.  :33

Nelson acknowledges safety concerns but notes that routine health maintenance activities are important to continue, especially cancer screenings. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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