The US could be on the precipice of a spike in cancer deaths in the years to come after preventative screening and early diagnoses plummeted during the pandemic.

Experts are concerned a dip in diagnostic screening in 2020 likely resulted in countless missed opportunities to treat cancers early, which would have increased the odds of a person’s survival, potentially leading to a spike in cancer deaths in the coming years.

The National Cancer Institute, a government body, collected far fewer reports of breast, lung, colorectal, thyroid, prostate, and pancreatic cancers than what would normally be expected between March and May 2020 due to disruptions in healthcare.

The declines in diagnoses were largest for female breast, lung, and colorectal cancers, types that are typically diagnosed through screening measures that millions of Americans missed.

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