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Hye-Yeon Kim 1 Article
No evidence of delay in colorectal cancer diagnosis during the COVID-19 pandemic in Gwangju and Jeonnam, Korea
Hye-Yeon Kim, Min-Gyeong Kim, Mi-Ran Kang, Jeong-Ho Yang, Min-Ho Shin, Sun-Seog Kweon
Epidemiol Health. 2022;44:e2022092.   Published online October 17, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2022092
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
We evaluated whether the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused delays in the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC) in Korea, where there have been no regional or hospital lockdowns during the pandemic period.
METHODS
Data on CRC patients (n=1,445) diagnosed in Gwangju Metropolitan City and Jeonnam Province between January 2019 and December 2021 were assessed. The stage at the time of CRC diagnosis, route to diagnosis, time to initial cancer treatment, and length of hospital admission were compared before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Logistic regression was also performed to identify factors associated with the risk for diagnosis in an advanced stage.
RESULTS
No negative effects indicating a higher CRC stage at diagnosis or delayed treatment during the pandemic were observed. Instead, the risk for an advanced stage at diagnosis (TNM stage III/IV) decreased in CRC patients diagnosed during the pandemic (odds ratio, 0.768; 95% confidence interval, 0.647 to 0.911). No significant differences in the interval from diagnosis to operation or chemotherapy were observed.
CONCLUSIONS
No negative effects on CRC diagnosis and treatment were found until the end of 2021, which may be related to the small magnitude of the COVID-19 epidemic, the absence of a lockdown policy in Korea, and the rebound in the number of diagnostic colonoscopy procedures in 2021.
Summary
Korean summary
COVID-19 판데믹 시기에 진단된 대장암환자에서 진단병기의 지연과 치료의 지연이 발생한 증거는 찾을 수 없었다. 이것은 2021년까지 한국에서는 유행규모가 크지 않았고, 의료기관 또는 지역단위의 봉쇄정책이 거의 없었기 때문일 것으로 추정된다.
Key Message
No evidence of delayed diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer was found during the COVID-19 pandemic period (2020-2021) in Gwangju-Jeonnam, Korea. It may be related to the small magnitude of the COVID-19 epidemic, the absence of a lockdown policy in Korea.

Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health