The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused detrimental effects on many aspects of healthcare practice. Screening programs for the commonest malignancies, namely colorectal cancer (CRC), breast cancer and cervical cancer have been discontinued or interrupted since the beginning of restriction measures aimed to limit transmission of the new coronavirus infection. Robust evidence exists in favour of the role of screening campaigns in reducing mortality from CRC. In fact, the majority of pre-malignant lesions of the colon and rectum can be diagnosed with colonoscopy and treated by endoscopic or surgical resection. Besides, colonoscopy screening allows the diagnosis of CRCs in their pre-clinical stage. Italy was one of the first European countries where a high level of COVID-19 infections and deaths was observed, and one of the first where lockdowns and strict measures were adopted to reduce the risk of COVID-19 diffusion among the population. A systematic review of the literature was performed, including the PubMed, Scopus, Web of Sciences, and Reference Citation Analysis databases, with the aim of critically evaluating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on CRC screening in Italy. We found that reduction of CRC screening activity surpassed 50% in most endoscopic units, with almost 600000 fewer CRC screening exams conducted in the first 5 mo of 2020 vs the same period of 2019. While the consequences of the discontinuation of endoscopy screening for the prognosis and mortality of CRC will be evident in the next few years, recent data confirm that CRC is currently treated at a more advanced stage than in the pre-COVID-19 era. Since delays in CRC prevention and early diagnosis may translate to increased CRC-specific mortality, world healthcare systems should adopt strategies to maintain the regularity of CRC screening during subsequent peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic, or future events that might hamper screening programs.

How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the colorectal cancer screening in Italy: A minireview / Fancellu, Alessandro; Veneroni, Simone; Santoru, Antonio; Meloni, Arianna; Sanna, Valeria; Ginesu, Giorgio C; Deiana, Giulia; Paliogiannis, Panagiotis; Ninniri, Chiara; Perra, Teresa; Porcu, Alberto. - In: WORLD JOURNAL OF GASTROINTESTINAL ONCOLOGY. - ISSN 1948-5204. - 14:8(2022), pp. 1490-1498. [10.4251/wjgo.v14.i8.1490]

How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the colorectal cancer screening in Italy: A minireview

Fancellu, Alessandro
;
Veneroni, Simone;Santoru, Antonio;Meloni, Arianna;Ginesu, Giorgio C;Deiana, Giulia;Paliogiannis, Panagiotis;Ninniri, Chiara;Perra, Teresa;Porcu, Alberto
2022

Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused detrimental effects on many aspects of healthcare practice. Screening programs for the commonest malignancies, namely colorectal cancer (CRC), breast cancer and cervical cancer have been discontinued or interrupted since the beginning of restriction measures aimed to limit transmission of the new coronavirus infection. Robust evidence exists in favour of the role of screening campaigns in reducing mortality from CRC. In fact, the majority of pre-malignant lesions of the colon and rectum can be diagnosed with colonoscopy and treated by endoscopic or surgical resection. Besides, colonoscopy screening allows the diagnosis of CRCs in their pre-clinical stage. Italy was one of the first European countries where a high level of COVID-19 infections and deaths was observed, and one of the first where lockdowns and strict measures were adopted to reduce the risk of COVID-19 diffusion among the population. A systematic review of the literature was performed, including the PubMed, Scopus, Web of Sciences, and Reference Citation Analysis databases, with the aim of critically evaluating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on CRC screening in Italy. We found that reduction of CRC screening activity surpassed 50% in most endoscopic units, with almost 600000 fewer CRC screening exams conducted in the first 5 mo of 2020 vs the same period of 2019. While the consequences of the discontinuation of endoscopy screening for the prognosis and mortality of CRC will be evident in the next few years, recent data confirm that CRC is currently treated at a more advanced stage than in the pre-COVID-19 era. Since delays in CRC prevention and early diagnosis may translate to increased CRC-specific mortality, world healthcare systems should adopt strategies to maintain the regularity of CRC screening during subsequent peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic, or future events that might hamper screening programs.
How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the colorectal cancer screening in Italy: A minireview / Fancellu, Alessandro; Veneroni, Simone; Santoru, Antonio; Meloni, Arianna; Sanna, Valeria; Ginesu, Giorgio C; Deiana, Giulia; Paliogiannis, Panagiotis; Ninniri, Chiara; Perra, Teresa; Porcu, Alberto. - In: WORLD JOURNAL OF GASTROINTESTINAL ONCOLOGY. - ISSN 1948-5204. - 14:8(2022), pp. 1490-1498. [10.4251/wjgo.v14.i8.1490]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11388/298385
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