Reductions in Breast Cancer Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Due to COVID-19 May Increase Breast Cancer Deaths

A new modeling study by BCSC investigators and NCI’s Cancer Intervention and Modeling Network (CISNET) estimates that disruptions in breast cancer control due to COVID-19 pandemic may increase breast cancer deaths by 2030

Posted by Oguzhan Alagoz at 4:00 PM on Jul 19, 2021


The SARS-CoV-2  (COVID-19) pandemic disrupted breast cancer care in the US, especially during the first few months of the pandemic.  Mammography screenings and symptomatic detections dropped sharply between March and August 2020. Additionally, chemotherapy treatments were reduced or delayed during this time. Although much of the screening returned to pre-pandemic levels by the end of Summer 2020, there is still a deficit in total number of exams compared to pre-pandemic years.

A new collaborative modeling study by BCSC investigators and NCI’s Cancer Intervention and Modeling Network (CISNET) estimated additional breast cancer deaths in the US between 2020 and 2030 due to COVID-19-related disruptions in screening, diagnosis, and treatment when compared to no COVID-19 impact. The study, published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute, utilized earlier data from BCSC and used three established CISNET models to examine the effect of disruptions on three breast cancer control activities: reduction in screening rates, delays in symptomatic cancer diagnosis, and reduced chemotherapy.

The analysis found that by 2030, there could be 950 cumulative excess breast cancer deaths related to reduced screening; 1,314 associated with delayed diagnosis of symptomatic cases, and 151 associated with reduced chemotherapy use in women with hormone positive, early stage cancer. Jointly, these disruptions could lead to 2,487 excess breast cancer deaths, representing a 0.52% cumulative increase over breast cancer deaths expected by 2030 in the absence of the pandemic’s disruptions.Alagoz JNCI 2021 images.jpg

Full text citation and Link: Oguzhan Alagoz, PhD, Kathryn P Lowry, MD, Allison W Kurian, MD, MSc, Jeanne S Mandelblatt, MD, Mehmet A Ergun, PhD, Hui Huang, MS, Sandra J Lee, ScD, Clyde B Schechter, MD, Anna N A Tosteson, ScD, Diana L Miglioretti, PhD, Amy Trentham-Dietz, PhD, Sarah J Nyante, PhD, Karla Kerlikowske, MD, Brian L Sprague, PhD, Natasha K Stout, PhD, from the CISNET Breast Working Group, Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Breast Cancer Mortality in the US: Estimates From Collaborative Simulation Modeling, JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab097 [Link to article


Find media coverage of the article:

Aunt Minnie: https://www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx?sec=ser&sub=def&pag=dis&ItemID=132919

Daily Mail: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-9785327/COVID-19-pandemic-lead-nearly-2-500-excess-deaths-breast-cancer-2030.html 

Florida News Times: https://floridanewstimes.com/covid-prophylaxis-can-lead-to-more-breast-cancer-deaths/304737/

Cure Magazine: https://www.curetoday.com/view/disruption-in-breast-cancer-care-during-covid-19-pandemic-may-slightly-increase-long-term-mortality

United Press International (UPI): https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2021/07/15/cancer-breast-screening-decline-pandemic-deaths/5511626314947/


Posted by: Oguzhan Alagoz