Coronavirus Pandemic Results In Missed Cancer Screenings, Particularly For Communities of Color
By Consumers For Quality Care, on March 25, 2021
According to reporting from The Arizona Republic, a new study from the American Cancer Society and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network found that over one-third of adults failed to receive recommended cancer screenings during the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of mammograms, colonoscopies and pap smears declined by 83 to 90 percent between February and April 2020. Likewise, more than 400,000 breast, colon and cervical exams were missed between March and June 2020. According to modeling, these missed exams have led to an estimated 80,000 missed or delayed cancer diagnoses.
One reason for the large number of missed exams is fear of contracting the coronavirus. However, another factor is the lack of health insurance from pandemic-related job losses and other barriers to care, which have hit communities of color particularly hard.
Black and Hispanic adults are more likely than their white counterparts to have had trouble paying for medical care and other bills during the pandemic and are more likely to have been unemployed. Lack of transportation and language services have also widened the disparity in care.
These disparities have resulted in later stage diagnoses of cancer, and consequentially, higher mortality rates among communities of color.
“Minority populations have a higher incident rate and a higher death rate with cancer,” Jeff Fehlis, executive vice president of the American Cancer Society’s south region said. “And a lot of that is attributed to access to care.”