MONDAY, Feb. 6, 2023 (HealthDay News) — The decrease in cancer screening seen during the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic persisted into 2022, according to a study published online Feb. 3 in JAMA Network Open.
Christopher Doan, from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and colleagues examined the observed versus expected mammography and low-dose computed tomographic scan rates from the start of the pandemic through April 2022 in a retrospective cohort study. Data from January 2016 to February 2020 were used to generate expected rates for March 2020 to April 2022.
The researchers found that monthly mammography rates were flat from January 2017 through February 2020, while a monotonic increase was seen in low-dose computed tomographic scan rates from approximately 500 per million per month in early 2017 to 1,100 per million per month by January 2020. Episodic drops were seen in both mammography and low-dose computed tomographic scan rates from March 2020 to April 2022, coincident with national COVID-19 infection rate increases. The observed low-dose computed tomographic scan rates were 24 and 14 percent below expected rates for March 2020 to February 2021 and March 2021 to February 2022, while for mammography, the rates were 17 and 4 percent below expected.
“More widespread recognition of the slow recovery from pandemic-related deficits in cancer screening should lead to more focused efforts to remedy the deficits,” the authors write.
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