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While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the US with no clear end in sight, what has become clear is that the effects of the pandemic will continue to be felt for decades to come. And in the fight against cancer, the effects are already being felt. According to the National Cancer Institute, delays in screenings, diagnoses, and treatment because of the coronavirus pandemic will likely result in thousands of excess cancer deaths in the coming years.
As the leading cause of cancer death in the US, the impact on lung cancer is especially alarming, with a majority of states seeing a notable decline in the number of lung cancer diagnoses. While a decrease in the number of lung cancer diagnoses may sound positive, this decline doesn't mean fewer people are getting lung cancer. Rather, it means more people are living with undiagnosed lung cancer and facing significant delays in treatment. Texas has been particularly hard hit, with lung cancer diagnoses having declined by 45%[i] as of May 2020.
Dr. Debra Patt, Executive Vice President at Texas Oncology, is sharing the alarming decline in lung cancer diagnoses in Texas, the serious implications this can have for patient outcomes and the importance of seeking regular care during COVID-19—especially for those at increased risk for lung cancer.