Oncologist fears ‘tsunami of cancer’ after COVID-19 limits screening

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An infusion drug to treat cancer is administered to a cancer patient via intravenous drip. Canadian oncologists worry the pandemic has led to cancer going undiagnosed and untreated. (Gerry Broome/The Associated Press)

(Stephanie Hogan, Melanie Glanz/ CBC News) — In the months since the pandemic hit, many parts of normal life have come to a stop.

But while so much has been on hold or locked down to keep people safe and the health-care system functioning, oncologists fear that pause has contributed to another potential crisis.

“What we’re worried about, of course, is that there may be a tsunami of cancer out there that’s going to suddenly show up,” said Dr. Keith Stewart, director of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. 

Cancer specialists are worried about the significant drop in the number of cancer screening, referrals and diagnoses in Canada since the pandemic began in March.

It doesn’t mean that cancer rates are dropping — experts say it means that cases are being missed and people aren’t getting the treatment they need. (…)

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