Cancer screening in the COVID-19 pandemic; Development of early diagnostic strategies
Aim: Early diagnosis is very important in some cancers such as breast, cervical and colorectal. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted cancer screening programmers in many countries. In this study, it is aimed to contribute to the literature on this subject by reviewing the status of local cancer screenings during the pandemic period.
Methods: This retrospective study includes the 114.727 people in the risky group for cancer screening determined in Bolu, Turkey as two groups. During 2017-2019 years was determined as pre-pandemic group while the year of 2020 was the pandemic group. Data about patients’ results of smear / HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and mammography had analyzed and compared with chi-square test.
Results: For all of the screening strategies, smear / HPV, FOBT and mammography, mean of screening cases, positive cases and biopsies had significantly decreased (p<0.05), but there was no statistically difference for mean of definitive diagnoses about all of these cancers even if it has been decreased between two groups.
Conclusion: The results of our study show that cancer screening processes are significantly disrupted during the pandemic period. Therefore, it is important to develop new screening strategies for the uninterrupted execution of cancer screening programs, especially during pandemic periods. However, we believe in the necessity of supporting studies with larger patient groups.
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