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CEOs Against Cancer discusses COVID-19 impact on screening

The American Cancer Society of Puerto Rico recently conducted its 2021 CEOs Against Cancer Puerto Rico Chapter Special Meeting, which addressed the topic of a return to screening.

Key ACS officers attended the meeting, including Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society Inc., who presented the results of a survey conducted among cancer patients and survivors by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network earlier this year, whose findings include:

  • 79% of patients in active treatment for cancer reported a delay to their health care, including 17% of patients in active treatment who reported delays to their cancer therapy such as chemo, radiation, or hormone therapy;
  • Delays were common among patients who are not currently in active treatment – 78% of whom reported their health care (regular/preventive care) had been delayed;
  • 46% of cancer patients and survivors reported a change to their financial situation that affected their ability to pay for care; and,
  • 48% reported that their experience as a cancer survivor during COVID-19 is affecting their mental/emotional well-being.

She also cited a Journal of Preventive Medicine study published last month that showed the pandemic contributed to significant disruptions in in breast, colorectal, and cervical cancer screenings among federally qualified health care systems in 15 states across the US.

“At the American Cancer Society, we have a long history of promoting screening. For example, ACS partnered with the NFL in fall 2020 on Cancer Screening during COVID-19, aimed at reducing cancer mortality disparities. ACS is a thought leader, and we will play a central role through our pillars of advocacy, discovery and patient support to help patients return to screening,” Knudsen said.

Also at the meeting were: John Alfonso, chair of the ACS Board of Directors; Michael Neal, Chief of Organizational Advancement; Lillian Santos, executive vice president of ACS PR and José Buenaga, chairman of the ACS Puerto Rico Board of Directors.

“The results of this study are consistent with what we’re seeing with our cancer patients in Puerto Rico,” Santos said. “We’re partnering with local organizations to complete the local study and communicate the local community the importance of Return to Screening, as it is critical to make sure that patients receive the best care possible.”

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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