The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a significant decline in screenings for cancer, a decrease in the number of diagnoses, and delays in treatment, according to a letter from a coalition of major cancer centers and organizations across the United States. NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center is among the 76 organizations that signed the letter, which calls for a resumption of screenings for cancer and treatments for people who have cancer.
Delays in cancer screening and treatment due to the pandemic prompted the National Cancer Institute to conservatively predict nearly 10,000 excess deaths from breast cancer and colorectal cancer alone over the next 10 years in the United States. This estimate, which does not account for other cancer types and assumes only a six-month disruption in care, suggests actual excess deaths could be much higher.
“As leading cancer centers and organizations, we urge people across the country to talk with their healthcare provider to resume regular primary care check-ups, recommended cancer screening, and evidence-based cancer treatment to lessen the negative impact the pandemic is having on identifying and treating people with cancer,” the letter says.
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