Multiple studies suggest that fewer cancers were diagnosed last year, likely because of less screening. About 75 cancer organizations recently urged a return to prepandemic screening levels as soon as safely possible.
But tumors take years to develop, and some reports suggest that a few months’ delay in screening for certain types of cancer may not have been as bad as feared. For example, researchers in the Netherlands found that a lapse in that country’s mammography program did not lead to more cancers being found at a late stage after screening resumed.
The pandemic also bred some creative solutions, such as wider use of tests that can be done at home. In Philadelphia, a large church partnered with local doctors and used its drive-thru flu shot program to also pass out stool tests for colon cancer screening.