Screening Mammography Levels Not Fully Restored After Pandemic Drop

FRIDAY, June 10, 2022 — Screening mammography volumes have not returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, according to a study published online June 8 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Lars J. Grimm, M.D., from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues quantified the initial decline and subsequent rebound in breast cancer screening metrics throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysis included data extracted from the American College of Radiology National Mammography Database from March 1, 2019, through May 31, 2021.

The researchers found that all peak COVID-19 metrics (March 1, 2020, to May 31, 2020) were less than pre-COVID-19 volumes (36.3 percent of pre-COVID-19 for screening mammography, 57.9 percent for diagnostic mammography, 47.3 percent for biopsies, and 48.7 percent for cancer diagnoses). During the COVID-19 recovery phase (March 1, 2021, to May 31, 2021), there was some rebound as a percentage of pre-COVID-19 volumes: 85.3 percent of pre-COVID-19 for screening mammography, 97.8 percent for diagnostic mammography, 91.5 percent for biopsies, and 92.0 percent for cancer diagnoses. A disproportionate negative impact across the metrics was seen on older women, Asian women, facilities in the Northeast, and facilities affiliated with academic medical centers.

“Cancer diagnoses declined significantly in the acute phase and have not fully rebounded, emphasizing the need to increase outreach efforts directed at specific patient population and facility types,” the authors write.

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