Cancer that went undetected during the pandemic an ‘impending disaster’

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Screening tests, like colonoscopies, and diagnostic procedures for some cancers dropped off sharply during the first COVID-19 wave. Photo: Pexels


(Leah Hendry/ CBC News) — Cancer specialists are bracing for a wave of patients suffering from more advanced disease due to delays in both screening and diagnostic testing during the pandemic.

About 60,000 Quebecers receive a cancer diagnosis in any given year.

But according to a report released by the Quebec Ministry of Health last month, an estimated 4,100 people may have gone undiagnosed between March and July 2020 as the health system grappled with the first wave of COVID-19.

Some people may have put off seeking medical attention because they were afraid of the virus. Others likely faced delays in getting routine screening or biopsies.

At Montreal’s Cedars Cancer Centre, there were 20 per cent fewer diagnoses in 2020 relative to the previous year. (…)

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