Published online Apr 15, 2021. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v13.i4.238
Peer-review started: January 21, 2021
First decision: March 8, 2021
Revised: March 10, 2021
Accepted: March 25, 2021
Article in press: March 25, 2021
Published online: April 15, 2021
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most diagnosed form of cancer and second most deadly cancer worldwide. Introduction of better screening has improved both incidence and mortality. However, as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began, healthcare resources were shunted away from cancer screening services resulting in a sharp decrease in CRC screening and a backlog of patients awaiting screening tests. This may have significant effects on CRC cancer mortality, as delayed screening may lead to advanced cancer at diagnosis. Strategies to overcome COVID-19 related disruption include utilizing stool-based cancer tests, developing screening protocols based on individual risk factors, expanding telehealth, and increasing open access colonoscopies. In this review, we will summarize the effects of COVID-19 on CRC screening, the potential long-outcomes, and ways to adapt CRC screening during this global pandemic.
Core Tip: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has resulted in a major decrease in colorectal cancer (CRC) screening and will likely have significant long-term effects on CRC incidence and mortality. This review discusses the effects of COVID-19 on CRC screening and the outcomes that will likely result. We then review different options to ensure safe and convenient resumption of CRC screening in the midst of this pandemic.