(BPT) - In the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, many areas of the country banned nonessential medical procedures in an effort to slow the spread of the disease. As a result, many physicians saw fewer patients for routine medical care, such as physical exams and screenings. A recent survey by The Physicians Foundation polled 3,513 physicians and found 41% saw volume decreases of 26% or more in their practices.
The impact on cancer screenings was even more profound. For example, screenings for prostate cancer — one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men in the United States — dropped by 56% by the peak of the pandemic in April according to a recent study published in JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics. The study used a large medical claims clearinghouse database representing 5-7% of the Medicare fee-for-service population to characterize changes in the utilization of cancer care services and gain insight into the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. cancer population.,