Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

AACR COVID-19: National Survey of Patient Concerns Regarding Breast Cancer

By: Joshua D. Madera, MS
Posted: Monday, July 27, 2020

Despite the efforts to manage breast cancer screening during the COVID-19 pandemic, screening rates have continued to decline, according to a presentation during the 2020 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Virtual Meeting on COVID-19 and Cancer (Abstract S11-02). “Planning and coordination are necessary to ensure the timely return of these patients to care,” explained Erica Warner, ScD, MPH, of Massachusetts General Hospital. Additionally, all patients have agreed to participate in follow-up procedures, so the long-term effects of delayed screening for breast cancer can be assessed.

A total of 404 patients identified from breast cancer organizations including the Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, SHARE,, Sisters Network Inc., the African American Breast Cancer Alliance, and were enrolled in the study. Participants were administered the REDCap survey if they met the following criteria: receipt of routine breast cancer screening, completion of diagnostic breast cancer evaluation, or a previous breast cancer diagnosis.

The investigators found that due to COVID-19, 26.5% of patients had delayed or cancelled their breast cancer treatment. This affected treatment included ultrasonography, mammography, or MRI (97.2%). In addition, of the women receiving active treatment, 20.6% reported delayed or cancelled surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatments. Moreover, 22.3% of patients were more comfortable rescheduling in-person appointments to phone calls or videoconferences.

Furthermore, the impact of COVID-19 has led to increased discussion between patients and their physicians (39.1%). Patient concerns included fear of limited access to cancer care including screening and diagnosis for those with (29.1%) and without (34.9%) breast cancer.

Disclosure: No information regarding conflicts of interest was provided.

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