Dr. Lavery on the Decline in Esophageal Cancer Diagnoses in Ireland During COVID-19

Anita Lavery, MD, MRCP

Anita Lavery, MD, MRCP, discusses the decline in esophageal cancer diagnoses in Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anita Lavery, MD, MRCP, a medical oncology registrar at Queen’s University Belfast, discusses the decline in esophageal cancer diagnoses in Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings from a study published in Gastroenterology demonstrated a 26.6% decline in the proportion of esophagogastric cancer between March and September 2020 compared with the equivalent time frame in 2017, 2018, and 2019 among patients in the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, says Lavery. This translated to approximately 53 fewer esophagogastric cancer diagnoses than expected, Lavery adds.

Additionally, the study revealed a 59.3% decline in the proportion of Barrett’s esophagus diagnoses during March to September 2020 vs the equivalent time frame over the previous 3 years, Lavery says. This translated to approximately 236 fewer Barrett’s esophagus diagnoses than expected, Lavery adds.

Notably, as of the first half of September 2020, esophagogastric cancer diagnoses appeared to recover from the decline; however, limited evidence of recovery in Barrett’s esophagus diagnoses was observed, with diagnoses remaining 20% below expected averages, concludes Lavery.