Fewer breast and colorectal cancer diagnoses due to the COVID-19 crisis in the Netherlands

Fewer breast and colorectal cancer diagnoses have been made in the Netherlands due to the COVID-19 crisis this spring. The decline in the number of diagnoses was more abundant in age groups invited to national population screening programmes, as compared to other age groups. More specifically, there was a drop of approximately one-third in breast cancer diagnoses (including its precursor) among 50-74-year-old women and approximately one-fifth in colorectal cancer diagnoses among 55-75-year-old men and women. These are the age groups that are invited to national population screening programmes in the Netherlands. Avinash Dinmohamed, Sabine Siesling, and coauthors described these findings in the Journal of Hematology & Oncology based on data from the Netherlands Cancer Registry (NCR) that relies on pathological cancer notifications via the Nationwide Histopathology and Cytopathology Data Network and Archive (PALGA).

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Survival childhood cancer in the Netherlands improved since 1990

A child with a pink shirt and a bald head from chemo looks off to the left with a slight smile on their face. In the background a branch of a flowering bush is visible.

Survival for five of the most common childhood cancers in the Netherlands has improved over the past decennia. This is the conclusion of the thesis of Ardine Reedijk entitled 'Progress Against Childhood and young adolescent cancer in the Netherlands since 1990'. This research concerns an epidemiological descriptive study on the extent of progress in the care of children and young adolescents (0-17 years) with cancer since 1990. The study is based on data from the Netherlands Cancer Registry combined with the data from the registry of the Dutch Childhood Oncology Group (SKION).

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Launch of the National Cancer & Life Action Plan

Patient organisations, healthcare professionals and researchers joined forces today to present the National Cancer & Life Action Plan. Their message? Living with and after cancer is about more than survival. These experts, including researchers from the University of Twente, have come together to form the Cancer Survivorship Care Task Force.

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Decline in cancer diagnoses due to corona crisis of international interest

Cancer care has dramatically changed as a result of the measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic: many patients have not been going to their GPs, or putting it off, and have been referred to the hospital later. Consequently, a quarter fewer cases of cancer have been diagnosed for several weeks, as found by the Netherlands Cancer Registry based on initial diagnoses in the PALGA pathology database. Dr. Avinash Dinmohamed of the Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation (IKNL in Dutch) and prof. Sabine Siesling of IKNL and the University of Twente and colleagues report this decline in diagnoses in the highly regarded scientific journal Lancet Oncology.

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Nearly all women are confronted with health problems after breast cancer

Nearly all women who have been treated for non-metastatic breast cancer suffer from health problems after primary treatment. The problems reported by women include fatigue, tingling in the hands and feet (neuropathy), and memory and concentration problems. For two-third of these problems, healthcare services were sought. Chemotherapy was the treatment responsible for most of the health issues.

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Breast cancer follow-up can be less intensive, tailored to individual risk

Doctoral research by Annemieke Witteveen at the University of Twente has shown that the number of follow-up visits for women after breast cancer treatment in the Netherlands could be reduced by about 9,000 visits per year. The follow-up could be offered based on the to the risk of recurrence, so that women with a low risk possible would need to revisit the hospital for a mammogram less frequently. Personalized follow-up reduces the burden on patients, care providers and possible the care budget.

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