Decrease in New Cancer Diagnoses Seen in 2020

Lower observed-to-expected ratios were seen for cases diagnosed at localized versus advanced stages
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THURSDAY, Sept. 28, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- There was a decrease in new cancer diagnoses in 2020, according to a report published online Sept. 27 in Cancer.

Serban Negoita, M.D., Dr.P.H., from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues examined changes in the counts of U.S. incident cases by cancer type, age, sex, race, and disease stage in 2020 using data extracted from selected U.S. population-based cancer registries for diagnosis years 2015 to 2020. The monthly numbers of newly diagnosed cancer cases were extracted for colorectal, female breast, lung, pancreas, prostate, and thyroid cancer, and the ratio of observed-to-expected (O/E) incident cancer cases was calculated for 2020.

The authors found that for major screening-eligible cancer sites, the O/E ratio was <1.0, indicating fewer newly diagnosed cases than expected in 2020, with the lowest O/E ratios observed in April 2020. Asians/Pacific Islanders had the lowest O/E ratio for any race group for every cancer site except pancreas. Lower O/E ratios were seen for cases diagnosed at localized versus advanced stages.

"These missed opportunities for early cancer detection are alarming, particularly for those vulnerable populations that continue to face significant barriers in accessing cancer care," Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D., director of the National Cancer Institute, said in a statement. "This report highlights the urgency in helping all Americans get back on track with their cancer care so that we can avoid unnecessary deaths and complications from cancer."

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