Research Mentor(s): Muhammad Aslam, Assistant Research Scientist
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Pathology, Michigan Medicine
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 4 (2pm-2:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 10
Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in the United States and has taken thousands of lives annually. One of the key methods in decreasing death rates of those with colorectal cancer is early detection by way of several different screening methods. However, early onset of the disease is a more recent concern that is revealing a dangerous trend. Due to Covid-19, many screening methods and tests have been put on hold as most doctors need to put their effort towards the influx of Covid-19 patients. Purpose: The purpose of the review is to examine the emerging trends in colorectal cancer, specifically young onset, and the different types of screening methods available at the present time (and potential ones for the future). Also, the purpose is to analyze how the pandemic has impacted CRC screening tests and treatments, as well as longer term CRC patient outcomes. Methods: This review was conducted by a thorough search of peer-reviewed journals from medical databases, as well as articles from other reputable sources. Keywords used included colorectal cancer, incidence, detection, screening method, colon, and Covid-19. Results: There are both advantages and limitations to all CRC screening methods. Unfortunately, administering these screenings has become difficult due to the pandemic. Not only have there been missed and delayed screening procedures, but there have been delayed surgeries, misdiagnoses, and likely missed diagnoses altogether. Consequently, it is predicted that there will be thousands of excess CRC-related deaths within the next decade. Conclusion: Delays in screening methods due to the pandemic are predicted to cost thousands of lives in the future as cancer is harder to control with late detection. With the strain Covid is putting on the healthcare system, many CRC patients have had to forgo not only screening tests, but other treatments, including surgeries. The effects of Covid-19 are catastrophic and will continue to unfold over the next several years.