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Cancer Screening Rates Returning to Pre-Pandemic Levels

December 2023
Full report

By February 2023, the end of the third year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person cancer screening rates are returning to pre-pandemic levels for breast, colorectal, and cervical cancers. Individuals with chronic conditions had higher screening rates and were more likely to have returned to pre-pandemic screening levels. 

Previous studies have documented drops in cancer screening during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancer screenings are an essential component of cancer prevention and treatment. Screening tests can identify pre-cancerous tissue or cancer while it is at an early stage before other symptoms are present.  

This analysis examined trends in common cancer screening tests that are performed in person—for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers —to determine whether rates had returned to pre-pandemic levels by the end of February 2023, three years after the start of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Cancer screening trends were analyzed separately by health status defined by number of chronic conditions.  


  • Background on Cancer Screening
  • Cancer Screening Recommendations
  • Methods and Results
  • Implications and Interventions

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