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Epidemiol Health ; 44: e2022053, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1911884


OBJECTIVES: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the utilization of healthcare services, including participation in cancer screening programs. We compared cancer screening participation rates for colorectal, gastric, breast, and cervical cancers among participants in the National Cancer Screening Program (NCSP) in 2019 and 2020 to address the potential distraction effect of COVID-19 on cancer screening. METHODS: Data from the NCSP for 4 cancer types (stomach, colorectal, breast, and cervical) in 2019 and 2020 were used to calculate cancer screening participation rates by calendar month, gender, age group, and geographical region. Monthly participation rates were analyzed per 1,000 eligible individuals. RESULTS: The screening participation rate decreased in 2020 compared to 2019 for all 4 cancers: colorectal (40.5 vs. 35.3%), gastric (61.9 vs. 54.6%), breast (63.8 vs. 55.8%), and cervical (57.8 vs. 52.2%) cancers. Following 2 major COVID-19 waves in March and December 2020, the participation rates in the 4 types of cancer screening dropped compared with those in 2019. The highest decline was observed in the elderly population aged 80 years and older (percentage change: -21% for colorectal cancer; -20% for gastric cancer; -26% for breast cancer; -20% for cervical cancer). CONCLUSIONS: After the 2 major COVID-19 waves, the screening participation rate for 4 types of cancer declined compared with 2019. Further studies are needed to identify the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer patients, such as delayed diagnoses of cancer or excess cancer deaths.

Breast Neoplasms , COVID-19 , Colorectal Neoplasms , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms , Aged , Breast Neoplasms/diagnosis , Breast Neoplasms/epidemiology , Breast Neoplasms/prevention & control , COVID-19/diagnosis , Colorectal Neoplasms/diagnosis , Colorectal Neoplasms/epidemiology , Early Detection of Cancer , Female , Humans , Mass Screening , Pandemics , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , Stomach , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/diagnosis , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/epidemiology , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/prevention & control
Epidemiol Health ; 44: e2022044, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1841573


OBJECTIVES: We investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care in a tertiary hospital in Korea without specific lockdown measures. METHODS: A retrospective cohort of cancer patients from one of the largest tertiary hospitals in Korea was used to compare healthcare utilization in different settings (outpatient cancer clinic, the emergency department [ED], and admissions to the hematology/oncology ward) between January 1 and December 31, 2020 and the same time period in 2019. The percent changes in healthcare utilization between the 2 periods were calculated. RESULTS: A total of 448,833 cases from the outpatient cohort, 26,781 cases from the ED cohort, and 14,513 cases from the admission cohort were reviewed for 2019 and 2020. The total number of ED visit cases significantly decreased from 2019 to 2020 by 18.04%, whereas the proportion of cancer patients remained stable. The reduction in ED visits was more prominent in patients with symptoms suspicious for COVID-19, high-acuity cases, and those who lived in non-capital city areas. There were no significant changes in the number of total visits, new cases in the outpatient clinic, or the total number of hospitalizations between the 2 periods. CONCLUSIONS: During the pandemic, the number of ED visits significantly decreased, while the use of the outpatient clinic and hospitalizations were not affected. Cancer patients' ED visits decreased after the COVID-19 outbreak, suggesting the potential for collateral damage outside the hospital if patients cannot reach the ED in a timely manner.

COVID-19 , Emergency Medical Services , Neoplasms , Communicable Disease Control , Emergency Service, Hospital , Humans , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/therapy , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , Tertiary Care Centers