A July study published in Gut underscores the urgent need to head off "an impending cancer healthcare crisis," Medscape reports.
Using the National Endoscopy Database, researchers evaluated how the COVID-19 pandemic affected endoscopic activity and cancer detection in the U.K.
1. On average, 35,478 endoscopy procedures were performed on a weekly basis from Jan. 6 to March 15, a period researchers labeled "pre-COVID."
2. From March 16-22, the number of endoscopy procedures performed dropped to 12 percent of pre-COVID levels.
3. Endoscopy procedures rebounded to 20 percent of normal by May 31, but at the lowest point in the time frame studied, volumes hit 5 percent of pre-COVID levels.
4. As a result of more selective patient vetting, the per-procedure cancer detection rate increased from 1.19 percent in the pre-COVID period to 6.61 percent from March 23 to May 31, the "COVID-impacted" period.
5. There was a 58 percent decrease in the number of cancers detected in the COVID-19 impacted period. The proportion of missing cancers ranged from 19 percent for pancreatobiliary to 72 percent for colorectal cancer.