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Prev Med ; 151: 106642, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1294330


Screening can decrease the burden of breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers. The COVID-19 pandemic led many countries to suspend cancer screening services as part of their response to the pandemic. The International Cancer Screening Network (ICSN) carried out an online survey to assess the effects of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer screening. A 33-item survey was distributed to 834 email addresses to gather information about settings and assess decision-making processes that led to cancer screening suspension. Information about communication, impact on resources, and patient follow-up was collected. Quantitative data was analyzed as frequencies overall and by setting, while a comment section under each survey item captured nuanced details. Responses were recategorized into 66 settings, representing 35 countries. Most settings suspended cancer screening services (n = 60, 90.9%) in March 2020 (n = 45, 68.2%), guided by a government decision (n = 51, 77.3%). Few settings made the decision whether to suspend services based on a preparedness plan (n = 17, 25.8%). In most settings, professionals were reassigned (n = 41, 62.1%) and infrastructure repurposed (n = 35, 53.0%). The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects on cancer screening worldwide, including the suspension of services in almost all settings. Most settings were unprepared to deal with the scale of the pandemic but demonstrated flexibility in the response. These results contribute to inform, through experiences and lessons learned, the next steps for the global cancer screening community to further evaluate the impact of COVID-19 and prepare for future disruptions.

COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Early Detection of Cancer , Humans , Neoplasms/diagnosis , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
Prev Med ; 151: 106606, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1294328


Screening is an important component of cancer control internationally. In Scotland, the National Health Service Scotland provides screening programmes for cervical, bowel and breast cancers. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the suspension of these programmes in March 2020. We describe the integrated approach to managing the impact of the pandemic on cancer screening programmes in Scotland throughout 2020. We outline the policy context and decision-making process leading to suspension, and the criteria and framework informing the subsequent, staggered, restart in subsequent months. The decision to suspend screening services in order to protect screening invitees and staff, and manage NHS capacity, was made after review of numbers of screening participants likely to be affected, and the potential number of delayed cancer diagnoses. Restart principles and a detailed route map plan were developed for each programme, seeking to ensure broad consistency of approach across the programmes and nationally. Early data indicates bowel, breast and cervical screening participation has increased since restart. Primary care has had to adapt to new infection prevention control measures for delivery of cervical screening. Cancer charities provided cancer intelligence and policy briefs to national bodies and Scottish Government, as well as supporting the public, patients and screening invitees through information and awareness campaigns. Emerging from the pandemic, there is recognition of the need and the opportunity to transform and renew both cancer and screening services in Scotland, and in particular to address long-standing workforce capacity problems through innovation and investment, and to continue to prioritise addressing health inequalities.

COVID-19 , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms , Early Detection of Cancer , Female , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Scotland , State Medicine , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/diagnosis , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/prevention & control