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Int J Cancer ; 149(1): 97-107, 2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1086364


We conducted a study to document the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on cancer screening continuum in selected low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). LMICs having an operational cancer control plan committed to screen eligible individuals were selected. Managers/supervisors of cancer screening programs were invited to participate in an online survey and subsequent in-depth interview. Managers/supervisors from 18 programs in 17 countries participated. Lockdown was imposed in all countries except Brazil. Screening was suspended for at least 30 days in 13 countries, while diagnostic-services for screen-positives were suspended in 9 countries. All countries except Cameroon, Bangladesh, India, Honduras and China managed to continue with cancer treatment throughout the outbreak. The participants rated service availability compared to pre-COVID days on a scale of 0 (no activities) to 100 (same as before). A rating of ≤50 was given for screening services by 61.1%, diagnostic services by 44.4% and treatment services by 22.2% participants. At least 70% participants strongly agreed that increased noncompliance of screen-positive individuals and staff being overloaded or overwhelmed with backlogs would deeply impact screening programs in the next 6 months at least. Although many of the LMICs were deficient in following the "best practices" to minimize service disruptions, at least some of them made significant efforts to improve screening participation, treatment compliance and program organization. A well-coordinated effort is needed to reinitiate screening services in the LMICs, starting with a situational analysis. Innovative strategies adopted by the programs to keep services on-track should be mutually shared.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Early Detection of Cancer/statistics & numerical data , Neoplasms/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Surveys and Questionnaires/statistics & numerical data , Bangladesh , Brazil , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cameroon , China , Cross-Sectional Studies , Developing Countries , Early Detection of Cancer/methods , Honduras , Humans , India , Neoplasms/therapy , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology