Research from Cancer Research UK has found that during COVID-19 around 3 million fewer people were screened via the bowel, breast or cervical cancer screening programmes in the UK (than expected based on previous data). Cancer screening was effectively paused from late March 2020 until around June 2020.
Screening programmes are now working through the backlog but, due to the impact on health services, access continues to vary across each nation and programme.
As invitations are sent and follow up tests resume, there will be perceived risks as well as emotional and physical barriers to attending appointments for patients. Practice staff are in an ideal position to reassure patients of the safety measures in place for cervical screening as well as informing patients about participating in bowel and breast screening
Link: Health Professional COVID-19 and Cancer Hub: supporting people to access screening services, Cancer Research UK
Link: Impact of COVID-19 on cervical screening, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust (2020)
Link: Cancer screening recovery guide, Cancer Research UK (2021)