Breast cancer screenings are getting postponed globally due to Corona. The long term effects are worse than you can imagine.
Experts fear that many will discover breast cancer much later due to postponed or cancelled screenings. Reports show that there is up to 51 % less mammography screenings compared to the same period last year, which can be linked to patients’ fear of catching Covid-19, according to Kara Friend, MD at Riverside Health System.
Inevitably, this will unfortunately lead to a worse prognosis and excess in deaths. In the United States alone, the delays in screenings is expected to lead to around 10 000 excess deaths in breast cancer and colorectal cancer during the coming decade. This means an ∼1% increase in the U.S. directly connected to the corona pandemic, according to an article published in Science by Norman E. Sharpless this june.
During an interview with Al Jazeera about missed and delayed cancer screenings in the UK, Professor Clare Turnbull from The Institute of Cancer Research speculate that some cancers can go from curable to more advanced (often meaning that there’s a recurrence of the cancer in a few years time after initial treatment) in as little as two months of delayed screening.
To both catch up with the screening gap and keep the cancer spread to a minimum, we at ThermaiScan believe that it is crucial to provide more accessible cancer screening methods in the near future. If a similar pandemic emerges, the world needs to be ready.
If patients are advised to stay home due the risk of infecting seriously ill patients, what can we do to keep up with breast cancer screenings?
On a more positive note, the corona pandemic has pushed health innovations forward, within tech such as IoT (Internet of Things), IoMT (Internet of Medical Things), AI and cloud based services. These are in the forefront of changing the healthcare industry towards a future of mobile health. In a recently published TNW-article, Ricky Philip brings up many interesting points on how the pandemic has revolutionized medical connectivity due to the increasing demand for high-quality medical services that keep both staff and patients safe.
We believe this MedTech-revolution is just beginning. In the coming months and years, we will see an exciting shift in the MedTech and HealthTech industry. It is time to provide small clinics and mobile health care providers with access to better and more advanced diagnostic tools that still are cost efficient. For this to have an impact, we invite clinicians, innovators, entrepreneurs and legislators to collaborate globally to push for such a change. The sooner the better, considering the dire numbers of expected excess deaths connected to delays in screening programs.
Now more than ever, the world needs remote access to high quality medical services!