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Read Gary Reedy's op-ed on how the pandemic has affected cancer patients

‚ÄčIn a Dec. 16 op-ed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (ajc.com), American Cancer Society CEO Gary Reedy discusses how COVID-19 has delayed cancer treatment schedules and preventive diagnostic services.

"The continued delays that cancer patients and survivors are experiencing are deeply concerning," he writes.

He cites an early study from the National Cancer Institute that suggests almost 10,000 excess deaths from breast and colorectal cancer over the next decade will be due to disruptions in cancer screening and treatment. 

And, a recent survey by our advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), shows the significant effects the pandemic is currently having and will continue to have on cancer care:

  • More than a quarter (26%) of cancer patients and survivors reported delays in their cancer-related care because of coronavirus.
  • When looking at respondents in active treatment for their cancer, the number increased to nearly one in three (32%). This included 21% of patients in active treatment who reported a delayed or canceled check-up or follow-up appointment specific to their cancer care.
  • Some 64% of all respondents, and 74% of those in active treatment, said they were worried about their ability to stay safe if COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

To ensure that cancer prevention and early detection remain a public health priority, ACS is partnering with other national organizations on a coordinated effort to support returning to screening safely. See our guidance for health systems.

Read Gary's full op-ed.


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