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Seung Hee Seo 1 Article
The impact of COVID-19 on screening for colorectal, gastric, breast, and cervical cancer in Korea
Hyeree Park, Seung Hee Seo, Jong Heon Park, Shin Hye Yoo, Bhumsuk Keam, Aesun Shin
Epidemiol Health. 2022;44:e2022053.   Published online June 21, 2022
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the utilization of healthcare services, including participation in cancer screening programs. We compared cancer screening participation rates for colorectal, gastric, breast, and cervical cancers among participants in the National Cancer Screening Program (NCSP) in 2019 and 2020 to address the potential distraction effect of COVID-19 on cancer screening.
Data from the NCSP for 4 cancer types (stomach, colorectal, breast, and cervical) in 2019 and 2020 were used to calculate cancer screening participation rates by calendar month, gender, age group, and geographical region. Monthly participation rates were analyzed per 1,000 eligible individuals.
The screening participation rate decreased in 2020 compared to 2019 for all 4 cancers: colorectal (40.5 vs. 35.3%), gastric (61.9 vs. 54.6%), breast (63.8 vs. 55.8%), and cervical (57.8 vs. 52.2%) cancers. Following 2 major COVID-19 waves in March and December 2020, the participation rates in the 4 types of cancer screening dropped compared with those in 2019. The highest decline was observed in the elderly population aged 80 years and older (percentage change: -21% for colorectal cancer; -20% for gastric cancer; -26% for breast cancer; -20% for cervical cancer).
After the 2 major COVID-19 waves, the screening participation rate for 4 types of cancer declined compared with 2019. Further studies are needed to identify the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer patients, such as delayed diagnoses of cancer or excess cancer deaths.
Korean summary
본 연구는 코로나 대유행 기간 전과 후 대장암, 위암, 유방암, 자궁경부암 검진 수검률 차이를 비교하고자 하였다. 첫 코로나 확진자가 발생한 2020년을 코로나 대유행 기간, 전년도 기간인 2019년을 코로나 대유행 전 기간으로 설정하며 국민건강보험공단에서 집계된 전수자료를 이용하여 암 검진 대상자 수와 수검자 수를 비교 분석하였다. 4개 암종 모두에서 2019년도와 비교하여 2020년도에 전국적으로 수검률이 감소하는 경향이 있었으며, 1차 대유행이 있었던 3월과 3차 대유행 시기인 12월에 2019년도 동기간과 비교하여 수검률이 크게 감소하였고, 80대 이상 노인 인구에서 감소폭이 다른 연령대와 비교하여 크게 나타났다.
Key Message
We found decline of the colorectal, gastric, breast and cervical cancer screening participation rates in 2020 following the two major COVID-19 waves, compared with those of 2019, and the highest decline was observed in the elderly population aged 80 years and older.


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Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health