The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on breast cancer early detection and screening

Document Type



General Surgery (East Africa)


The COVID-19 pandemic affects mortality and morbidity, with disruptions expected to continue for some time, with access to timely cancer-related services a concern. For breast cancer, early detection and treatment is key to improved survival and longer-term quality of life. Health services generally have been strained and in many settings with population breast mammography screening, efforts to diagnose and treat breast cancers earlier have been paused or have had reduced capacity. The resulting delays to diagnosis and treatment may lead to more intensive treatment requirements and, potentially, increased mortality. Modelled evaluations can support responses to the pandemic by estimating short- and long-term outcomes for various scenarios. Multiple calibrated and validated models exist for breast cancer screening, and some have been applied in 2020 to estimate the impact of breast screening disruptions and compare options for recovery, in a range of international settings. On behalf of the Covid and Cancer Modelling Consortium (CCGMC) Working Group 2 (Breast Cancer), we summarize and provide examples of such in a range of settings internationally, and propose priorities for future modelling exercises. International expert collaborations from the CCGMC Working Group 2 (Breast Cancer) will conduct analyses and modelling studies needed to inform key stakeholders recovery efforts in order to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Preventive Medicine