Colon cancer diagnoses drop 40% in epidemic, and it’s not good news

by Kara Murez
healthday reporter

MONDAY, October 4, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Colon cancer numbers have dropped dramatically during COVID-19 global pandemicBut this does not mean that fewer people have this disease.

In Spain, researchers discovered more than a 40% drop in colon cancer diagnosis, leading experts to worry about the impact.

“These are actually very worrying findings – cases of colorectal cancer undoubtedly went undiagnosed during the pandemic. Not only were there fewer diagnoses, but those diagnosed were at a later stage and suffered from more severe symptoms,” said lead author Dr. . Maria Jose Domper Arnal. He is from the Digestive Diseases Service, University Clinic Hospital and Aragon Health Research Institute in Zaragoza.

“Although these figures are in Spain’s population of 1.3 million, it is highly likely that the same drop in diagnoses would have occurred elsewhere in the world where screenings were halted and surgery was postponed, especially in countries that have been affected by COVID-19.” Were very much affected by -19,” Arnal said.

The researchers compared data from the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 15, 2020 to February 28, 2021) with data from the previous year. They found that of the 1,385 cases of colon cancer diagnosed in those two years at several hospitals in Spain, about two-thirds occurred in the pre-pandemic year.

In addition, 27% fewer colonoscopies were performed during the pandemic compared to the previous year.

Those diagnosed in the epidemic year were older than in the pre-epidemic year, had more frequent symptoms, more complications and were seen at a more advanced disease stage.

These symptoms include bowel perforation, boils, intestinal obstruction and bleeding requires hospital admission. These issues accounted for about 15% of cases during the pandemic, compared to less than 11% pre-pandemic. Stage 4 cancers were about 20% during the pandemic and about 16% before the pandemic.

It is expected that there will be approximately 150,000 cases of colon or rectal cancer In the United States this year, according to the American Cancer Society, there were about 53,000 deaths from the disease.

The study points to the suspension of screening programs and the postponement of non-urgent colonoscopies as reasons for the drop. According to the findings, during the pandemic, fewer cancers were detected during routine screening and more were diagnosed through symptoms.

The research was presented Sunday at the United European Gastroenterology’s annual meeting, UEG Week Virtual 2021. Findings presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Arnal said, “Colorectal cancer is often curable if it is caught at an early stage. Our concern is that we are missing the opportunity to diagnose patients at this early stage, and this has an impact on patient outcomes and survival. Will have.” In a meeting news release. “We are likely to see this decline in the coming years.”

more information

The American Cancer Society has more colon cancer.

Source: United European Gastroenterology, news release, October 3, 2021


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