Prostate Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

AACR COVID-19: Recent Trends in Screening for Prostate Cancer

By: Joshua D. Madera, MS
Posted: Friday, July 24, 2020

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, screening and diagnostic procedures for prostate cancer have significantly declined, according to a presentation during the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Virtual Meeting on COVID-19 and Cancer (Abstract S11-03). This modification may impact “cancer prevention and early detection, signaling possible downstream effects on the timing and staging of future cancer diagnoses,” explained Mara Epstein, ScD, of the Meyers Primary Care Institute, University of Massachusetts, and colleagues.

Patient data for men in 2019 (n = 65,312) and 2020 (n = 66,396) from a large health-care provider group in central Massachusetts were analyzed. All patients did not have a history of prostate cancer. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and prostate biopsy monthly rates per 1,000 people were compared between January and May of 2019 and 2020.

The study findings revealed the average rate of PSA testing for men in 2019 was 34.4 per 1,000 men, and this rate declined in 2020 to 17.6 in March, 6.1 in April, and 11.3 in May per 1,000 men. In addition, the average number of prostate biopsies in 2019 was relatively low (0.15 per 1,000 men) and did not significantly decline as compared with March through May of 2020. Moreover, younger men between the ages of 30 and 54, across all racial groups, demonstrated the largest decline in screening and diagnostic procedures. Furthermore, the largest decline from 2019 to 2020 was observed in April, when the rate of PSA testing declined by 83%.

Disclosure: No information regarding conflicts of interest was provided.

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