The Japanese Cancer Society is urging people to get tested for cancer as soon as possible, after they reported on Saturday that checkups in 2020 fell by about 30% over the previous year.
The crash may have been caused by many medical examinations that were canceled due to the spread of the coronavirus, and many people refrained from visiting doctors in the middle of the pandemic.
The Tokyo-based society urges people to get screening for cancer early, saying estimates based on the size of the screening recipient’s reduction and cancer detection rate show that about 1,000 to 2,100 people may have undetected cases of the disease.
The Society asked its 42 branches across the country to report the number of cancer screening recipients offered by local governments and received valid responses from 32 branches in February and March this year.
The study found that the number of people who underwent screening for cancer of the stomach, lungs, intestines, breast and cervix in 2020 fell by about 30.5% from 5,670,796 in 2019 to 3,941,491. It also means a drop of about 32.2% compared to 2018.
The number of screening recipients fell by about 85% from a year earlier in April last year, when the government declared its first state of emergency due to the virus, and plunged 93% the following month.
After the declaration of an emergency was completely lifted at the end of May 2020, the number of screening recipients began to grow and recovered to the levels of 2018 and 2019 in October.
Cancers are often discovered accidentally during the treatment of other diseases. According to the society, there may be more hidden cancer patients, taking into account the fact that many people refrained from visiting doctors during the pandemic.
“Cancers can progress quickly in a short period of time,” a company official said, urging people who did not pass the screening in 2020 to make sure they would be screened this year.
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