Impact of COVID-19 on Hospital Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Activities Among Prostate and Colorectal Cancer Patients in Canada


Lee FSH1, Halat M1, Bleibdrey N2, Zhang S1, Chalmers R1, Zimskind D1
1ZS Associates, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2ZS Associates, Hampton, NJ, USA

OBJECTIVES: Suspension of cancer screening and treatment programs were instituted to preserve medical resources and protect vulnerable populations. This research aims to investigate the implications of COVID-19 on cancer management and clinical outcomes for patients with prostate and colorectal cancer, two of the most prevalent cancers in Canada.

METHODS: Hospital cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment, length of stay, and mortality data among prostate and colorectal cancer patients between April 2017 and March 2021 were obtained from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Baseline trends were established with data between April 2017 and March 2020 for comparison with data collected during the pandemic between April 2020 and March 2021 using Student’s t-tests. Scenario analyses were performed to assess the incremental capacity requirements needed to restore hospital cancer care capacities to the pre-pandemic levels in Canada.

RESULTS: For prostate cancer, A 12% decrease in hospital diagnoses and a 5.3% decrease in treatment activities were observed during COVID-19 between April 2020 and March 2021. Similarly, a 43% reduction in hospital colonoscopies, 11% decrease in hospital diagnoses and 10% decrease in treatment activities were observed for colorectal cancers. Additionally, a marked reduction in hospital prostate cancer (12%) and colorectal cancer (21%) mortality was observed over the same period. Overall, an estimated 1,438 prostate and 2,494 colorectal cancer cases were undiagnosed, resulting in a total of 620 and 1,487 unperformed treatment activities for prostate and colorectal cancers, respectively, across the nine provinces included in the study in Canada. To clear the backlogs of unperformed treatment procedures in will require an estimated 3%-6% monthly capacity increase over the next 6 months.

CONCLUSIONS: A concerted effort from all stakeholders is required to immediately ameliorate the backlogs of cancer detection and treatment activities. Mitigation measures should be implemented to reduce the impact of future interruptions to regular practice.

Conference/Value in Health Info

2022-11, ISPOR Europe 2022, Vienna, Austria

Value in Health, Volume 25, Issue 12S (December 2022)

Acceptance Code



Epidemiology & Public Health, Health Policy & Regulatory

Topic Subcategory

Health Disparities & Equity, Public Health



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