Millions of colonoscopies, mammograms, lung scans, Pap tests and other cancer screenings were suspended for several months last spring in the United States and elsewhere as COVID-19 swamped medical care.
Now researchers are studying the impact, looking to see how many cancers were missed and whether tumors found since then are more advanced.
Already, there are hints of trouble. University of Cincinnati researchers found that when CT scans to check for lung cancer resumed in June, 29% of patients had suspicious nodules versus 8% in prior years.
Dr. Carmen Guerra had a federal grant to increase screening in racially diverse communities and realized that home tests could help. Studies show these tests, which look for blood in stool, help save lives. People put a tiny stool sample in a tube and mail it to a lab or, in this case, use a drop box at the church. If blood is found, the next step is colonoscopy.