Cancer Screening Saves Lives. Throughout the pandemic, many healthcare resources were redirected to combat rising COVID-19 cases and prevent the further spread of the virus. Non-urgent healthcare services, including preventive cancer screening, were put on hold early in the pandemic. Even though screening services are more available, disruptions to preventive care continue, and longer-term consequences are still being realized.
The American Cancer Society suggests that the pandemic-related reductions in health care access will result in a short-term drop in cancer diagnoses and a later corresponding increase in late-stage cancer diagnoses and preventable deaths. Moreover, the negative health outcomes caused by the pandemic will likely disproportionately affect disadvantaged and underrepresented populations.
Although advances in cancer screening and treatment have resulted in a significant decline in the annual death rate from cancer over the past decades, every effort should be made to return to routine screening practices as soon as safely possible to not lose the momentum built up over the past years.
A National, Collaborative Call to Resume Screening
Organizations across the country are joining together to reaffirm their commitment to cancer screening and care and are dedicated to resuming and accelerating their cancer screening efforts. To ensure our progress in cancer control continues, healthcare providers, public health professionals, and community leaders will need to act urgently and collaboratively. The resources below were developed to strengthen your cancer screening initiatives throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Joint Statement on Resuming Cancer Screening and Treatment
Seventy-six leading cancer centers and organizations across the country have issued a joint statement that urges people to talk with their health care providers about resuming regular primary care checkups, recommended cancer screening, and evidence-based cancer treatment. The goal is to reengage and reprioritize cancer prevention and detection to minimize further negative impacts of the pandemic on identifying and treating people with cancer.
Guidance on Safely Resuming Cancer Screening During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The American Cancer Society developed these reports to summarize the current trends in the pandemic and to provide guidance on how public health agencies, health care providers, and screening advocates across the nation can promote and deliver cancer screening appropriately, safely, and equitably during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Effectively Messaging Cancer Screening During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The American Cancer Society recently conducted a public opinion survey to assess the most effective messages for encouraging people to return for routine cancer screening, and this guidebook shares early findings and is designed to help in the education and motivation of those who have missed or are delaying cancer screening.