Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Breast Cancer Screening and Operative Treatment

Am Surg. 2022 Apr 13:31348221087920. doi: 10.1177/00031348221087920. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many areas of health care and had a significant impact on care delivery, including breast cancer.

METHODS: To better understand the changes to detection and treatment of breast cancer at our institution, we analyzed mammogram rates (screening and diagnostic) and breast cancer operations in 2019-2020. Mammography rates were calculated using county level census data for eligible women (Z-test). For breast cancer staging, a stage severity score was analyzed with a Mann-Whitney U-test (two-tail, P < .05) with proportions derived from WFBH operative volume quarterly reports. Results: Data revealed a relative decline from 2019 to 2020 in breast cancer screening. Screening mammograms decreased by 44% or 1558 fewer screening mammograms (Z = 4.75, P < .00001) and by 21% or 771 fewer for diagnostic mammograms (Z = 2.16, P = .03). With regards to breast cancer operations, we did not identify a statistically significant difference in number of new breast cancer operations at WFBH with 340 cases in 2020 as compared to 384 cases in 2019 (P = .9905). We compared a breast cancer severity score (weighted by stage at time of operation), which did not reveal statistically significant difference in clinical stage of breast cancer at time of operation (P = .71, U = 28).

CONCLUSION: Mammography was impacted more than breast surgery cases by the COVID-19 pandemic. More data needs to be collected to evaluate future morbidity and mortality related to breast cancer operations and persistent disparities related to delay in breast cancer care due to COVID-19.

PMID:35417262 | DOI:10.1177/00031348221087920