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1.
JAMA Netw Open ; 5(4): e228855, 2022 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1801991

ABSTRACT

Importance: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted cancer systems worldwide. Quantifying the changes is critical to informing the delivery of care while the pandemic continues, as well as for system recovery and future pandemic planning. Objective: To quantify change in the delivery of cancer services across the continuum of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Design, Setting, and Participants: This population-based cohort study assessed cancer screening, imaging, diagnostic, treatment, and psychosocial oncological care services delivered in pediatric and adult populations in Ontario, Canada (population 14.7 million), from April 1, 2019, to March 1, 2021. Data were analyzed from May 1 to July 31, 2021. Exposures: COVID-19 pandemic. Main Outcomes and Measures: Cancer service volumes from the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, defined as April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, were compared with volumes during a prepandemic period of April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020. Results: During the first year of the pandemic, there were a total of 4 476 693 cancer care services, compared with 5 644 105 services in the year prior, a difference of 20.7% fewer services of cancer care, representing a potential backlog of 1 167 412 cancer services. While there were less pronounced changes in systemic treatments, emergency and urgent imaging examinations (eg, 1.9% more parenteral systemic treatments) and surgical procedures (eg, 65% more urgent surgical procedures), major reductions were observed for most services beginning in March 2020. Compared with the year prior, during the first pandemic year, cancer screenings were reduced by 42.4% (-1 016 181 screening tests), cancer treatment surgical procedures by 14.1% (-8020 procedures), and radiation treatment visits by 21.0% (-141 629 visits). Biopsies to confirm cancer decreased by up to 41.2% and surgical cancer resections by up to 27.8% during the first pandemic wave. New consultation volumes also decreased, such as for systemic treatment (-8.2%) and radiation treatment (-9.3%). The use of virtual cancer care increased for systemic treatment and radiation treatment and psychosocial oncological care visits, increasing from 0% to 20% of total new or follow-up visits prior to the pandemic up to 78% of total visits in the first pandemic year. Conclusions and Relevance: In this population-based cohort study in Ontario, Canada, large reductions in cancer service volumes were observed. While most services recovered to prepandemic levels at the end of the first pandemic year, a substantial care deficit likely accrued. The anticipated downstream morbidity and mortality associated with this deficit underscore the urgent need to address the backlog and recover cancer care and warrant further study.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza, Human , Neoplasms , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Cohort Studies , Humans , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/therapy , Ontario/epidemiology , Pandemics
2.
CMAJ Open ; 9(4): E1205-E1212, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1592340

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Breast cancer screening in Ontario, Canada, was deferred during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a prioritization framework to resume services according to breast cancer risk was developed. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the pandemic within the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) by comparing total volumes of screening mammographic examinations and volumes of screening mammographic examinations with abnormal results before and during the pandemic, and to assess backlogs on the basis of adherence to the prioritization framework. METHODS: A descriptive study was conducted among women aged 50 to 74 years at average risk and women aged 30 to 69 years at high risk, who participated in the OBSP. Percentage change was calculated by comparing observed monthly volumes of mammographic examinations from March 2020 to March 2021 with 2019 volumes and proportions by risk group. We plotted estimates of backlog volumes of mammographic examinations by risk group, comparing pandemic with prepandemic screening practices. Volumes of mammographic examinations with abnormal results were plotted by risk group. RESULTS: Volumes of mammographic examinations in the OBSP showed the largest declines in April and May 2020 (> 99% decrease) and returned to prepandemic levels as of March 2021, with an accumulated backlog of 340 876 examinations. As of March 2021, prioritization had reduced the backlog volumes of screens for participants at high risk for breast cancer by 96.5% (186 v. 5469 expected) and annual rescreens for participants at average risk for breast cancer by 13.5% (62 432 v. 72 202 expected); there was a minimal decline for initial screens. Conversely, the backlog increased by 7.6% for biennial rescreens (221 674 v. 206 079 expected). More than half (59.4%) of mammographic examinations with abnormal results were for participants in the higher risk groups. INTERPRETATION: Prioritizing screening for those at higher risk for breast cancer may increase diagnostic yield and redirect resources to minimize potential long-term harms caused by the pandemic. This further supports the clinical utility of risk-stratified cancer screening.


Subject(s)
Breast Neoplasms/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Early Detection of Cancer , Guideline Adherence/statistics & numerical data , Mammography , Aged , Early Detection of Cancer/methods , Early Detection of Cancer/standards , Early Detection of Cancer/statistics & numerical data , Female , Health Priorities/standards , Health Priorities/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Mammography/standards , Mammography/statistics & numerical data , Middle Aged , Ontario/epidemiology , Risk Factors
3.
Prev Med ; 151: 106586, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1294323

ABSTRACT

It is essential to quantify the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer screening, including for vulnerable sub-populations, to inform the development of evidence-based, targeted pandemic recovery strategies. We undertook a population-based retrospective observational study in Ontario, Canada to assess the impact of the pandemic on organized cancer screening and diagnostic services, and assess whether patterns of cancer screening service use and diagnostic delay differ across population sub-groups during the pandemic. Provincial health databases were used to identify age-eligible individuals who participated in one or more of Ontario's breast, cervical, colorectal, and lung cancer screening programs from January 1, 2019-December 31, 2020. Ontario's screening programs delivered 951,000 (-41%) fewer screening tests in 2020 than in 2019 and volumes for most programs remained more than 20% below historical levels by the end of 2020. A smaller percentage of cervical screening participants were older (50-59 and 60-69 years) during the pandemic when compared with 2019. Individuals in the oldest age groups and in lower-income neighborhoods were significantly more likely to experience diagnostic delay following an abnormal breast, cervical, or colorectal cancer screening test during the pandemic, and individuals with a high probability of living on a First Nation reserve were significantly more likely to experience diagnostic delay following an abnormal fecal test. Ongoing monitoring and management of backlogs must continue. Further evaluation is required to identify populations for whom access to cancer screening and diagnostic care has been disproportionately impacted and quantify impacts of these service disruptions on cancer incidence, stage, and mortality. This information is critical to pandemic recovery efforts that are aimed at achieving equitable and timely access to cancer screening-related care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Lung Neoplasms , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms , Aftercare , Delayed Diagnosis , Early Detection of Cancer , Female , Humans , Ontario , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
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