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Breast cancer screening fell more in minority women during COVID-19 pandemic

Breast cancer screening dropped by more than 50 percent among women of color between 2019 and 2020, according to a study of more than 21,000 women and a variety of screening facilities.

The percentage of women of color getting mammograms was 16.8% in 2019 vs 12.2% in 2020. During the COVID-19 peak, mammography screening volumes among these women decreased more dramatically than among white women.

However, screening volume among women of color rallied more dramatically in 2021, it increased by 136.8% compared with a 61% increase among white women that year.

“Conservative early estimates predict the disruption of breast cancer screening and diagnosis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic will result in a significant increase in cancers diagnosed at late stages and thousands of excess breast cancer deaths in the United States alone,” the group led by Connie Lehman, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston noted.

See “COVID-19 took toll on minority women’s mammography screening uptake” by Kate Madden Yee on the AuntMinnie website (April 4, 2022)

See the abstract of the scientific paper “Screening Mammography Recovery After COVID-19 Pandemic Facility Closures: Associations of Facility Access and Racial and Ethnic Screening Disparities” by Constance D. Lehman et al.

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