Increase in Colon Cancer Predicted Due to COVID-19


Covid and colon cancer blog header

There has been a decline in cancer deaths in the last two decades, but physicians are worried that the coronavirus pandemic will undo this progress. Their fears are not without foundation. In 2020, there was an abrupt drop between 86% and 94% in preventive cancer screenings performed nationwide, compared to the equivalent weeks from 2017-2019. Specifically speaking about colon cancer, most centers halted screenings in March, which caused a decrease of 86% in preventive colonoscopies compared with the same period in previous years. 

“I fear that all the good that has happened over the past couple of decades is going to go away and that cancers will be caught later at less treatable stages,” says Electra Paskett, Ph.D., director of the division of cancer prevention and control in the department of internal medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus. “I’m very worried about what we’ll be seeing over the next couple of years because of people’s reluctance to go in for screenings.”

These reduced screenings and delays in colonoscopies will lead to an increase in diagnosis. It will also lead to colon cancer diagnosed at later-stages, where treatment and survivability are lower. Estimates suggest that there could be nearly 19,000 fewer colon cancer diagnoses and over 4,000 additional deaths from colon cancer nationally because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Patients must not postpone or avoid these preventive screening exams. To ease patients, Digestive Health Specialists has continued to provide Telehealth options when appropriate. Visit our telehealth page for more details:

What are the Colon Cancer Screening Guidelines?

The American Cancer Society recommends all adults who are at average risk for colon cancer begin screening at 45. Even though Medicare and many insurance carriers do not cover colonoscopies until age 50, it is important to get screened. When discovered early, the survival rate of colon cancer is up to 90 percent.

Talk to your doctor about colon cancer screening recommendations. It is also wise to contact your insurance provider to receive the most updated information about your plan.

Schedule your Colonoscopy Today

Did you miss your colonoscopy because of COVID-19? If so, reschedule your colon cancer screening as soon as possible. You can schedule an appointment by calling (336) 768-6211 or fill out the Appointment Request Form


Digestive Health Specialists, PA is here to help if you, or someone you know, would like more information, or if you are experiencing any digestive health symptoms and would like further evaluation. Feel free to give us a call at 336-768-6211 or fill the form below.

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