Prostate Cancer Diagnosis Rates Declined During First Wave of COVID-19

A study shows that 36% fewer men in Sweden have been diagnosed with prostate cancer since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Urology.

The researchers used data from National Prostate Cancer Register (NCPR). NCPR comprises data on almost 98% per cent of men annually diagnosed with prostate cancer in Sweden.

After comparing diagnosis rates from the start of the first wave of COVID-19 March-June 2020, with the corresponding months in the years 2017-19, the researchers observed a notable drop in the number of registered prostate cancer cases had taken place in spring 2020.

“We think the number of cases diagnosed fell because, early on, the Public Health Agency of Sweden urged older people to minimise their social contacts and, by the same token, refrain from non-urgent health care. At the same time, the working group for the Swedish guidelines for prostate cancer care recommended that only men with prostate cancer symptoms should seek medical attention. The results of the study indicate that the recommendations were heeded,” says Pär Stattin, Professor of Urology at Uppsala University and register holder for the National Prostate Cancer Register (NCPR).

 

Stattin added: “Our study suggests that Swedish health care prioritised cancer treatment during the pandemic, and that prostate cancer care in this country was less affected than was reportedly the case in other European countries.”