Cancer Screenings, Diagnoses are Dropping Amidst the Pandemic
Although it is important to stay at home during a pandemic, this shouldn't stop you from going to the doctor's office.
New research from GRAIL, a healthcare company with a mission to improve early cancer detection, shows that the pandemic has caused a significant reduction in routine cancer screenings and cancer diagnoses.
"People are afraid. They're afraid to go to hospitals...they're anxious about going to their doctor's offices. They don't want to get procedures," said Dr. Joshua Ofman, MD, Chief Medical Officer and External Affairs with GRAIL, in our "Tuned In to NoCo" interview. "If people feel comfortable going to see their doctor, or going to get their imaging test or their screening test, they should by all means be encouraged to do that, because if we let cancers grow without detecting them as early as possible, that's when outcomes are the worst."
Early detection is paramount to cancer survival. Yet, if Americans continue to avoid routine screenings due to pandemic fears, the National Cancer Institute predicts that the cancer mortality rate will increase by over 10,000 additional deaths, in just two cancer types alone, throughout the next decade.
However, researchers believe this future can be shifted by not only encouraging Americans to visit their primary care doctors, but also by developing more advanced technology, like GRAIL's upcoming Galleri blood test.
"I think the future looks very bright. I'm very optimistic that the advent of these new technologies are going to make a big difference," said Dr. Ofman. "I predict within the next five years, that the whole landscape of early cancer detection is going to change."
Learn more about the pandemic's effect on early cancer detection by listening to the full "Tuned In to NoCo" interview with Dr. Joshua Ofman, MD, below.