Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

COVID-19 and Breast Cancer Screening: Who Is at Risk for Delayed Mammography?

By: Hope Craig, MSPH
Posted: Wednesday, September 15, 2021

According to a cohort study published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, the screening behaviors and breast cancer screening volumes of individuals have been significantly affected by COVID-19–related closures of health facilities. The study aimed to identify patient populations at risk for delayed breast cancer screening in order to facilitate more inclusive outreach to these groups and prevent delayed diagnosis and later-stage presentation of breast cancer.

Shayna L. Showalter, MD, of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, and colleagues retrospectively created two cohorts: (1) COVID-19–impacted individuals (n = 9,062), those who received a screening mammogram during the COVID-affected time frame; and (2) a baseline cohort (n = 10,757), patients who received a mammogram during the same period in 2019, prior to the pandemic. Then, the number of weekly total screening mammograms performed was compared between 2019 (pre-COVID pandemic) and 2020 (post-COVID pandemic).

The results demonstrated that certain individual factors seemed to be independently associated with a lower likelihood of returning for breast cancer screening since the COVID-19 pandemic, including younger age (odds ratio (OR) = 0.78, P < .001), residence in a higher poverty area (OR = 0.991, P = .014), lack of health insurance (OR = 0.65, P = .007), need for an interpreter (OR = 0.68, P = .029), longer travel time (OR = 0.998, P < .001), and utilization of mobile mammography services (OR = 0.27, P < .001).

“Targeted outreach to patients in these populations, who are at risk of being left behind by current COVID-19 recovery strategies, may be an effective means of helping them resume recommended breast cancer screening and other needed medical care,” the authors commented.

Disclosure: The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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