Cancer Screening in the Coronavirus Pandemic Era: Adjusting to a New Situation.

Basu, Partha; Alhomoud, Samar; Taghavi, Katayoun; Carvalho, Andre L; Lucas, Eric; Baussano, Iacopo (2021). Cancer Screening in the Coronavirus Pandemic Era: Adjusting to a New Situation. JCO global oncology, 7, pp. 416-424. American Society of Clinical Oncology 10.1200/GO.21.00033

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The coronavirus-induced pandemic has put great pressure on health systems worldwide. Nonemergency health services, such as cancer screening, have been scaled down or withheld as a result of travel restrictions and resources being redirected to manage the pandemic. The present article discusses the challenges to cancer screening implementation in the pandemic environment, suggesting ways to optimize services for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening.


The manuscript was drafted by a team of public health specialists with expertise in implementation and monitoring of cancer screening. A scoping review of literature revealed the lack of comprehensive guidance on continuation of cancer screening in the midst of waxing and waning of infection. The recommendations in the present article were based on the advisories issued by different health agencies and professional bodies and the authors' understanding of the best practices to maintain quality-assured cancer screening.


A well-coordinated approach is required to ensure that essential health services such as cancer management are maintained and elective services are not threatened, especially because of resource constraints. In the context of cancer screening, a few changes in invitation strategies, screening and management protocols and program governance need to be considered to fit into the new normal situation. Restoring public trust in providing efficient and safe services should be one of the key mandates for screening program reorganization. This may be a good opportunity to introduce innovations (eg, telehealth) and consider de-implementing non-evidence-based practices. It is necessary to consider increased spending on primary health care and incorporating screening services in basic health package.


The article provides guidance on reorganization of screening policies, governance, implementation, and program monitoring.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Taghavi, Katayoun


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




American Society of Clinical Oncology




Andrea Flükiger-Flückiger

Date Deposited:

08 Apr 2021 12:17

Last Modified:

09 Apr 2021 06:37

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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