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COVID-19 Pandemic Affects New Cancer Diagnoses in U.S.

New diagnoses of six major cancer types in the United States fell abruptly in early 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report published on Wednesday.

The report is a collaborative effort by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Cancer Society, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.

The report found decreases in the diagnosis of female breast, lung, colorectal, prostate, thyroid, and pancreatic cancers at the start of the pandemic, likely due to interruptions in medical care and cancer screenings.

Pathology reports also declined sharply in early 2020, suggesting that fewer cancer screenings and other cancer-related procedures were being performed during that time, according to the report.

The combined findings suggest that many cancers were not diagnosed in the United States in the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, in part due to interruptions in health services, CDC said in a statement.

This study is the largest to date assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on new diagnoses of cancer in the United States, according to CDC.