21 Jun Mt Sinai Researchers Find Sharp Drop in Early Lung Cancer Diagnoses During COVID-19 Pandemic in NYC
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Emanuela Taioli, MD, PhD
Director, Institute for Translational Epidemiology
Professor, Population Health Science and Policy
Professor, Thoracic Surgery
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: NYC experienced a halt on all elective care from March 22 to June 8, 2020, provoking reduced cancer screening rates, and delayed cancer care and treatment.
We wanted to quantify the effect of the “pause” on cancer stage at diagnosis using lung cancer as an example of a condition where early diagnosis can dramatically modify survival.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: The analysis of Mount Sinai cancer registry showed a sharp drop in the number of diagnoses during the “pause”. In addition, the diagnoses of early stage lung cancer decreased significantly in comparison to the same period in pre-pandemic years. Early stage diagnoses dropped again, while late stage diagnoses increased in February 2021, when a new wave of COVID-19 infections ravaged the city
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: There was an immediate negative impact on lung cancer diagnoses of COVID-19 restrictions, with a sharp decrease in early stage diagnoses when a “pause” on elective procedures was introduced in 2020, as well as when COVID-19 cases sharply increased during the Winter of 2021. The increase in late stage diagnoses during pandemic surges may reflect the fact that only sick patients with symptoms, and acute events that require immediate care were seeking hospital attention.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: The data presented suggests that we will likely observe an increase in lung cancer mortality in the next few months and years, as consequence of stage shift at diagnosis associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This should be monitored by future studies.
Shift in lung cancer stage at diagnosis during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City
Raja Flores, Naomi Alpert, Ken McCardle, Emanuela Taioli
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