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Cancer death rates are expected to rise and you can blame the pandemic

Posted at 1:35 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 15:55:08-04

At the onset of the pandemic, elective medical procedures, including cancer screening, were largely put on hold to prioritze urgent needs and reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 in health care settings.

Early projections indicate that these extensive screening delays will lead not only to missed and advanced stage cancer diagnosis, but also to a rise in cancer-related deaths.

The annual death rate from cancer in the United States declined by 29 percent from 1991 to 2017, with the most recent and largest single-year drop of 2.2 percent from 2016 to 2017.

The impact of the pandemic on screening rates was immediate, decreasing by nearly 90% for breast, cervical, colorectal, and lung cancer.

Throughout 2020, cancer screening rates rebounded somewhat, but recent reports indicate at least a 30 percent decline in the number of cancer screening tests being done compared to pre-pandemic years.

American Cancer Society says screening for cervical cancer should begin at age 25. At 45, start breast and colorectal screening. If you are 50 and have smoked, talk to your doctor about lung screening.

Some tests are free or covered by insurance. Visit for more information.

And, be sure to support the American Cancer Society's fundraiser walk. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk is Saturday, October 23 at Liberty Park.

Find more information about that by going to