6 cancers were underdiagnosed in 2020

Six types of cancer were underdiagnosed during the pandemic, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The expected diagnoses rates for female breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, thyroid and prostate cancers and pancreatic cancer all fell drastically, between March and May 2020. It is these six cancer types specifically that are usually diagnosed via screenings, early detection tests, diagnosed incidentally or as a result of symptoms exhibited in person.  

The pandemic's shutdowns likely resulted in "diagnoses made as a result of early symptoms or in the course of routine medical visits may have been delayed when people held off on seeing their doctors," the release states.

In addition, throughout the same two-month period, the volume of electronic pathology reports also declined, researchers found. 

The findings, published Sept. 27 in Cancer, are from the second part of a national reporting effort that aims to research how COVID-19 affected cancer and patients across the U.S. The research is being led by experts from the National Cancer Institute, CDC, NIH and other health agencies. 

Part one of the research was published in October 2022.

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