Delays In Cancer Diagnosis “Thanks To” The Covid-19 Pandemic
Check this out. But like yesterday’s post, there is no need to study this article too closely. In fact, its message is largely encapsulated in the graphs shown above. Quite simply, this article reports a clear demonstration that the detection of colorectal cancer in England was slowed significantly by the coronavirus. More specifically, referrals for colonoscopies and their prompt scheduling fell precipitously at the pandemic’s outset.
This lines up perfectly with the On Doctors’ MindsSM conversations I have been conducting with U.S. Oncologists. Many of them are talking about “stage shifting,” i.e., patients presenting with later stages of cancer than is usually the case thanks to their fears of going to medical facilities fostered by the pandemic. Failure to obtain timely colonoscopies, mammograms, etc. is believed to be having a significant negative impact on survival. Interestingly, my discussants are telling me that once diagnosed, treatment is occurring according to the usual schedule.
Bottom Line. Wolf Blitzer continues to do an excellent job of providing us with nightly updates on COVID-19 deaths. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the number of preventable deaths related to delay in cancer diagnosis and treatment might actually dwarf these numbers.