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Article

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cancer Diagnoses in General and Specialized Practices in Germany

by 1,2,†, 3,†, 4, 3,‡, 3,*,‡ and 5,‡
1
Research and Development Unit, Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, CIBERSAM, Dr. Antoni Pujadas, 42, Sant Boi de Llobregat, 08830 Barcelona, Spain
2
Faculty of Medicine, University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, 78180 Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France
3
Clinic for Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectious Diseases, University Hospital Düsseldorf, Medical Faculty of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Moorenstraße 5, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
4
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Philipps University of Marburg, 35037 Marburg, Germany
5
Epidemiology, IQVIA, 60549 Frankfurt, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors share first authorship.
These authors share last authorship.
Academic Editors: Gabriella D’Orazi and Mara Cirone
Cancers 2021, 13(3), 408; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13030408
Received: 26 December 2020 / Revised: 19 January 2021 / Accepted: 19 January 2021 / Published: 22 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection The Impact of COVID-19 Infection in Cancer)
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) represents a major challenge for global healthcare systems. Since these healthcare systems have been frequently overwhelmed by the large number of COVID-19 patients, it is conceivable to hypothesize that other diseases such as cancer have been neglected during the pandemic. This study showed that the number of new cancer diagnoses in Germany significantly decreased between March and May 2020 compared with 2019. Given that a sudden decline in the actual incidence of cancer is unlikely, these data suggest that a large proportion of cancer cases have been undiagnosed or diagnosed with some delay in this country, and this may be associated with poor short-term and long-term outcomes. Thus, the present study provides important evidence for the vivid discussion on how healthcare systems should optimally deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The aim of this retrospective study was to investigate the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on cancer diagnosis in general and specialized practices in Germany. This study included a total of 102,009 patients aged ≥18 years newly diagnosed with cancer in 1660 practices in Germany from January to May 2019 and from January to May 2020. Practices included general, gynecology, ear, nose, and throat (ENT), dermatology, and urology practices. New cancer diagnoses included all types of cancer and corresponded to cancers not previously documented in the database for a given patient. The number of new cancer diagnoses per general practice decreased significantly between March and May 2020 compared with the same period in 2019 (March: −12.0%, April: −27.6%, and May: −23.4%). A similar trend was observed in specialized practices, and this trend was more pronounced in April 2020 (dermatology: −44.4%, gynecology: −32.0%, and ENT: −28.2%). In addition, there was a significant decrease in almost all sex and age groups in April and May 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. Finally, the decrease in the number of new cancer diagnoses was particularly pronounced among cancers of the skin and the respiratory and intrathoracic organs. Together, these data show that the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant negative impact on cancer diagnosis in Germany, highlighting the need for public health measures improving the management of cancer in this country during this ongoing pandemic. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; cancer diagnosis; general practices; specialized practices; Germany COVID-19 pandemic; cancer diagnosis; general practices; specialized practices; Germany
MDPI and ACS Style

Jacob, L.; Loosen, S.H.; Kalder, M.; Luedde, T.; Roderburg, C.; Kostev, K. Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cancer Diagnoses in General and Specialized Practices in Germany. Cancers 2021, 13, 408. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13030408

AMA Style

Jacob L, Loosen SH, Kalder M, Luedde T, Roderburg C, Kostev K. Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cancer Diagnoses in General and Specialized Practices in Germany. Cancers. 2021; 13(3):408. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13030408

Chicago/Turabian Style

Jacob, Louis, Sven H. Loosen, Matthias Kalder, Tom Luedde, Christoph Roderburg, and Karel Kostev. 2021. "Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cancer Diagnoses in General and Specialized Practices in Germany" Cancers 13, no. 3: 408. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13030408

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