Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) led a collaboration with the healthcare technology company, Komodo Health, to develop a research brief published by Reuters and featured by The New York Times, highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on colorectal cancer (CRC) care volumes, behaviors, and attitudes.

This report was developed based on findings from a Komodo Health analysis and from Fight CRC patient focus groups and surveys aimed at better understanding the current landscape of cancer and the coronavirus, and how to prepare for the future.

According to the brief, “the findings underscore the need for public health and health system policies that can prioritize vulnerable populations and for those whom a delay in care is most likely to result in poor outcomes.”

Key Takeaways:

• The total number of colonoscopies and biopsies performed declined nearly 90% by mid-April compared to the same period last year.

• New colorectal cancer diagnoses were down more than 32% by mid-April and colorectal cancer surgeries fell by 53% compared to year-ago figures.

• Nearly 40% of colorectal cancer patients and caregivers reported disruptions in their care, especially as it relates to in-person visits and imaging. Of these, 25% said they did not know when their care would be rescheduled, and 34% said their visits changed to telehealth.

• A majority (78%) of colorectal cancer patients feel nervous, anxious, or on edge, and 57% reported they are concerned about contracting COVID-19. Twenty percent report feelings of isolation.

Background on the Research

At this point, coronavirus has saturated our lives. Whether it’s watching the news, logging onto social media, or a quick reminder as we shop empty shelves, it’s no surprise that COVID-19 has caused major disruptions across all facets of life.

This couldn’t be more true for those affected by CRC. Whether you’re a survivor, a caregiver, or a medical professional, it’s likely that life looks very different today than it did four months ago.

In response to COVID-19, Fight CRC wanted to hear directly from our community to understand these types of daily disruptions, and how we could continue to be a reliable resource during these challenging times.

Over the course of the last few months, Fight CRC has interviewed medical experts and provided updated resources for the colorectal cancer community to stay up-to-date on the latest in COVID-19. Check them out here.

In April 2020, Fight CRC launched a patient and caregiver survey utilizing established online contacts of Fight CRC’s patients and advocates, Colontown online communities, and through various social media channels, and hosted three focus groups, two specifically for patients, and one for caregivers. 

Simultaneously, Komodo Health conducted its own analysis utilizing Komodo’s Healthcare Map, which tracks the patient journeys associated with 320 million individuals in the U.S. This tool was used to report volumes of colonoscopy screening, new colon cancer diagnoses, biopsies, and colon surgeries before and after shelter-in-place orders. 

Whether it be screening, treatment, or other types of care, COVID-19 has changed the trajectory of our community’s colorectal cancer experience. To receive the full report of Fight CRC’s survey and focus groups, sign up for email in the footer on this webpage to be alerted when it is published.

COVID-19 and Colorectal Cancer

During these unprecedented times, Fight CRC remains committed to our mission and continues to support our community by providing helpful and trustworthy resources for all those affected by colorectal cancer. Your generosity today will make us stronger tomorrow.

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