American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

New American Cancer Society Resource Addresses COVID-19's Impact on Screening Disparities

Screening disparities are already evident and, without deliberate focus, are likely to increase as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Safely Resuming and Promoting Cancer Screening During the COVD-19 Pandemic, a new American Cancer Society resource for health care professionals. Efforts to promote screening and overcome barriers for populations with low screening prevalence must continue to be prioritized. In order to get cancer screening back on track, the health care community should implement focused efforts to screen people who historically have had low screening prevalence and are most affected by COVID-19. Progress should be benchmarked based on increased screenings among this group. In addition, people who historically have had low screening prevalence and are most affected by COVID-19 should be included in in the decision-making process.

The toolkit also includes recommendations for promoting the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and screening for colorectal, breast, lung, and cervical cancers during COVID-19. For instance, implications of COVID-19 on breast cancer screening include:

  • An estimated 87 percent drop in mammography screening from the end of February to early April 2020
  • An estimated missed or delayed diagnosis of about 36,000 women for the period of March to early June 2020

Access the American Cancer Society toolkit for additional messaging on past and ongoing disruptions experienced in cancer screening during COVID-19, recommendations for promoting screening in your community, and strategies for getting cancer screening back on track.

American Cancer Society Reports U.S Cancer Death Rates Continue to Fall

According to Cancer Facts & Figures 2021, the annual statistics reported from the American Cancer Society, the death rate from cancer in the United States has continued to decline. From 1991 to 2018, the cancer death rate has fallen 31 percent. This includes a 2.4 percent decline from 2017 to 2018—a new record for the largest one-year drop in the cancer death rate.

The report estimates that in the United States in 2021, almost 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed. And more than 600,000 people will die from cancer.