Purpose: To determine if the COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated racial disparities in late-stage presentation of breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers. Methods: We conducted a registry-based retrospective study of patients with newly reported diagnoses of breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers between March 2019–June 2019 (pre-COVID-19) and March 2020–June 2020 (early-COVID-19). We compared the volume of new diagnoses and stage at presentation according to race between both periods. Results: During the study period, a total of 3528 patients had newly diagnosed cancer; 3304 of which had known disease stages and were included in the formal analyses. 467 (14.1%) were Blacks, and 2743 were (83%) Whites. 1216 (36.8%) had breast, 415 (12.6%) had colorectal, 827 (25%) had lung, and 846 (25.6%) had prostate cancers, respectively. The pre-COVID-19 period included 2120 (64.2%), and the early-COVID-19 period included 1184 (35.8%), representing a proportional 44.2% decline in the volume of new cases of breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers, p < 0.0001. Pre-COVID-19, 16.8% were diagnosed with metastatic disease, versus 20.4% early-COVID-19, representing a proportional increase of 21.4% in the numbers of new cases with metastatic disease, p = 0.01. There was a non-significant proportional decline of 1.9% in Black patients diagnosed with non-metastatic breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers early-COVID-19 (p = 0.71) and a non-significant proportional increase of 7% in Black patients diagnosed with metastatic disease (p = 0.71). Difference-in-difference analyses showed no statistically significant differences in metastatic presentation comparing Black to White patients. Conclusion: While we identified substantial reductions in the volume of new cancer diagnoses and increases in metastatic presentations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact was similar for White and Black patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7381-7388
Number of pages8
JournalCancer medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2023


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