Cancer diagnoses fell early in COVID pandemic, but many types eventually climbed again

Source: Eurek Alert!, September 2023

A pair of new studies documents initial drops—and, in some cases, rebounds—in cancer diagnoses in Canada and the United States in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Diagnosis rates varied by cancer type
In Canada, researchers from the Paul Albrechtsen Research Institute CancerCare Manitoba led a study of 48,378 cancer patients listed in the Manitoba Cancer Registry from January 2015 through December 2021. The study was published yesterday in JAMA Network Open. Median patient age at diagnosis was 68 years, and 49.6% were women.

“Disruptions to health care during the COVID-19 pandemic may have led to missed cancer diagnoses," the study authors wrote. “It is critical to evaluate the association between the COVID-19 pandemic and cancer incidence to address public and patient anxiety, inform recovery efforts, and identify strategies to reduce the system’s vulnerability to future disruptions."