The lifesaving screening for colon cancer, a colonoscopy, at the age of 45 was postponed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic due to lockdown, office closures, delays in appointments, canceled appointments, illness, and various other factors.
“We have seen a steady rise in deaths from colorectal cancer in those in their low to mid-50’s, said GI Alliance Gastroenterologist and CMO, Casey Chapman, M.D. “This means colon cancer is being diagnosed too late and at an advanced stage many times rendering it incurable.”
Nationwide, routine screening colonoscopy screenings remained 50% lower than pre-pandemic times, cited in an article by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in April of 2021.
“A decline in referrals due to avoided, postponed, rescheduled and even cancelled appointment, will impact the opportunity for prevention, diagnosis and early treatment. This interruption in care may very well lead to future later stage cancer detection,” said Chapman. “I think we will continue to see an increased severity and a higher-stage shifting ripple effect over the next decade.”
Scheduling a colonoscopy at the age of 45, watching for warning signs and issues, attending regularly scheduled check-ups with PCPs and OB/GYNs will help to ensure that pre-cancerous polyps and colon cancer is caught early.
About GI Alliance GI Alliance is a physician-led and majority physician-owned GI services organization supporting the needs of more than 660 independent gastroenterologists operating in Texas, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah, and Washington. Practices that are part of GI Alliance are focused on providing the highest-quality care to their patients. In addition to providing operational support for practices, GI Alliance is working to unite gastroenterologists nationwide by aligning interests and improving patient care.