Impacts on cancer diagnosis and care
Data on the pandemic’s health and health-care impacts is limited for populations that have been underserved including people with lower incomes, those living in rural or remote communities, people who belong to racial/ethnic minorities, and those with limited English proficiency. The available data does show that these communities face inequities in cancer diagnosis and care during the pandemic:
- In Ontario, people with lower incomes are more likely to experience diagnostic delays following an abnormal breast, cervical or colorectal cancer screening test.1
- 1 in 5 people who live in rural or remote communities report delays in receiving a cancer diagnosis.2
- 1 in 6 people who live in rural or remote communities report delays between cancer diagnosis and starting treatment.2
- The use of virtual care has substantially increased since the onset of the pandemic, but lower income individuals are less likely to access virtual care than those with higher incomes.3
- Walker MJ, Meggetto O, Gao J, Espino-Hernandez G, Jembere N, Bravo CA, et al. Measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on organized cancer screening and diagnostic follow-up care in Ontario, Canada: A provincial, population-based study. Prev Med. 2021; 151:106586.
- Canadian Cancer Society patient engagement survey. January 2022. Data available upon request.
- Canadian Institute for Health Information. Virtual care: A major shift for Canadians receiving physician services. 2022. Available from: https://www.cihi.ca/en/virtual-care-a-major-shift-for-canadians-receiving-physician-services