Researchers are studying the effects of epidemic cancer screening breaks

John Abraham’s colonoscopy was postponed for several months due to the epidemic. When it was finally found, doctors made the growth so large that it could be safely removed during space examination. He had to wait several weeks for surgery, then some more people to find out he hadn’t got cancer yet.

“I’m totally surprised that I would have gotten the screening when I should have been, if this had been different,” and the surgery could have been avoided, said Abraham, who is based at Mortgage Bank in Peoria, Illinois.

Millions of colonoscopies, mammograms, lung scans, Pap tests and other cancer screenings in the United States and elsewhere have been postponed for months.

Now researchers are studying the effect, to see how many cancers have been missed and to see if the tumors found later are more advanced.

Already, there are signs of trouble. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati found When CT scans were performed in June to detect lung cancer, 29% of patients had suspected nodules against 8% in previous years.

Multiple studies suggest that fewer cancers were diagnosed last year, probably due to less screening. About 75 cancer organizations recently called for a safe return to pre-pandemic screening levels as soon as possible.

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But tumors take years to develop, and some reports suggest that a few months’ delay in diagnosing certain types of cancer was not as bad as it was feared. For example, researchers in the Netherlands found that delays in the country’s mammography program did not result in more cancer being found in the late stages after screening resumed.

Epidemics also spawned some creative solutions, such as the widespread use of home-made tests. In Philadelphia, the big church partnered with local doctors and also used its Drive Through Flu Shot program to pass stool tests to detect colon cancer.

“We are not afraid to try anything because it relates to health and well-being,” said Rev. Annon Tabernacle of the Baptist Church. Leroy Miles said. “Women were encouraging men to get screenings, saying, ‘I’ve got a mammogram.’ And I say, ‘Ma’am, you have a colon too.’

Screening Merits

Screening tests vary in their risks and benefits and health experts have long debated who should receive what and how often. The fact that epidemics can be eliminated can serve as a “natural experiment” to see the value of modern times, which has been studied for a long time.

No difference in death can be seen for years, and early detection is a factor in survival. Treatment is also important and he was also harmed by the epidemic delay.

U.S. Dr. Ed Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute, estimates that delayed diagnosis and treatment of breast and colon cancer could lead to about 10,000 more deaths in the coming decade. “Postponed care was once prudent due to the risks of” covid-1 expos, “he wrote in the Science Journal, but that prolonged postponement could” turn a public health crisis into many, “he wrote in the Science Journal.

Based on what has been known about breast cancer deaths in the United States in recent years, about 10% could have been prevented if women had undergone routine screening, but 20% to 25% could have been prevented with proper treatment, said Dr. Otis said. Brewley, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and former chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

“It’s not important to say screening, but many people believe that cancer screening actually saves more lives than life,” Braveley said.

He said that if screening started quickly, short-term delays would not cause further damage to mortality.

There was some reassuring news at the recent American Association for Cancer Research conference from Sabin Sessling of the Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organization. The country provides mammograms to women between the ages of 50 and 74 every two years but closed in mid-March due to COVID-19. After it resumed in late summer, the results showed no more shifts to more advanced nodes, she reported.

Researchers at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospital analyzed their screening tests. For lung, cervical, colon, prostate and breast cancers. From March to June the screening dropped dramatically but the part that had cancer or a precursor was higher than normal, indicating that those who had the screening were at higher risk. When screening became nearly normal during June to September, the number of potentially “missed” cancers was lower than expected.

Get creative

When summer actor-year-old actor Chadwick Bozman died of colon cancer last summer, Miles was a threat to 12,000 members of his Philadelphia church. Black people die from this disease Compared to other groups, and had limited access to colonoscopies, which could detect and remove growths before they became cancerous.

Miles, who has drawn more than 1,000 church members for other health occasions, calls the University of Pennsylvania and said, “We know how to get people to come if you’re willing and able to set something up.”

Dr. Carmen Guerra had a federal grant to increase screening in ethnically diverse communities and realized that in-house testing could help. Study shows these tests, which detect blood in the stool, help save lives. People put a small sample of stool and mail it to the lab or in this case, use drop boxes in the church. If blood is found, the next step is a colonoscopy.

Doctors pulled out kits in the parking lot during a drive-through flu shot event in October. Church members had seen the video about colon cancer in advance and registered to make sure they were eligible for screening.

So far 154 kits have been returned. Stacey Hill was among 13 people who tested positive. The 48-year-old Philadelphia woman had just lost her job and health insurance. Her colonoscopy revealed two growths, such that, before Abraham was diagnosed with cancer, he was caught.

“I was shocked,” Hill said. “I’m an active type of person so I’m glad to know.”

Doctors also helped him get into medical aid, “so now I have medical insurance” and can continue to check for cancer, he said.

The church hopes that you will be given home tests again this spring during blood pressure and diabetes screening events.


The Associated Press The Department of Health and Science is supported by the Department of Science Education at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is fully responsible for all content.