Two-thirds of Americans have delayed or skipped scheduled cancer screenings — such as a mammogram, colonoscopy, skin check, or Pap/HPV test – because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey out Thursday.
More than a third of Americans had some sort of cancer screening due during the pandemic this year, but nearly 64% of those surveyed said they had put it off or skipped it altogether, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) found.
“While delaying recommended screenings for a few months is not necessarily dangerous, our biggest concern is that a significant number of Americans might stop getting preventive care for long periods of time or altogether,” said ASCO chief medical officer Dr. Richard Schilsky.
“Cancer screenings are critical for detecting cancer early, and early detection is key to successfully treating many cancers.”
Plus, fewer than half of Americans are doing any of the things known to prevent cancer, such as staying out of the sun or using sunscreen when outside; maintaining a healthy weight; and limiting alcohol, the survey of 4,000 adults found.
The survey, conducted online from July 21 to September 8, also found 59% believe racism can affect the health care a person receives, with Black people (76%), Hispanic people (70%), and Asian people (66%) more likely than White people (53%) to hold these views.
“Despite evidence of worse cancer outcomes for Black Americans, few Americans are aware of the established relationship between race and cancer survival,” ASCO said in a statement.
“Fewer than one in five (19%) believes race has an impact on the likelihood a person will survive cancer, with Blacks (27%) and Hispanics (22%) significantly more likely than Whites (16%) to be aware of the link.”