Did you know?
- According to the CDC, of cancers affecting both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.
- For the year 2020, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 147,950 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S., and that 53,200 men will die from this disease in the U.S.
- Risk factors for colorectal cancer include age, having a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, and having an inflammatory bowel disease. Lifestyle factors such as a lack of regular physical activity, a low-fiber and high-fat diet, and obesity may also contribute to an increased risk.
Why should I care?
- Screening saves lives by helping to find precancerous polyps before they turn cancerous, and by helping to find colorectal cancer at an early stage.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the decline in cancer screenings has raised concerns of delayed diagnoses. Cancers missed now could lead to their being discovered later on with worse prognoses.
- Our data is showing that among Medicare beneficiaries, screening colonoscopies in our footprint (48 states plus DC) declined 97% from January to April 2020. Procedure volumes increased during the remainder of Q2 2020 but not to pre-COVID levels.
What should I do?
- When to restart cancer screenings can depend on many factors. The ACS advises people to talk to their providers about the risks and benefits of being screened now or postponing for a later date, taking into account personal and family history, other risk factors, and the timing of the last screening test.
- The ACS and CDC websites also include important information about safety measures that healthcare facilities can take to reduce the risk of COVID transmission.