Years of advances in driving down cancer occurrences and deaths could be completely reversed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A recently published study shows screenings, diagnoses and treatment for various cancers dropped dramatically from March through July when compared with 2019 rates.
Researchers analyzed 6,227,474 claims from a provider clearinghouse representing 5% to 7% of the Medicare fee-for-service population. In April, at the height of the pandemic, screening for breast cancer was down by 85%; screening for colon cancer dropped by 75%; prostate cancer screening declined by 74%; and lung cancer screening was down by 56%. Hospital outpatient Evaluation and Management visits dropped 74% in April; new patient E&M visits fell 70%, and existing patient E&M visits declined 60%.