June 1, 2020

A Pandemic of Cancer Cases?

Delayed by the coronavirus outbreak, a wave of undiagnosed cancer cases may be building


A sharp upswing in cancer diagnoses, harder-to-treat advanced cancers, and cancer deaths may be among the many unexpected consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Facing an onslaught of COVID-19 patients, hospitals have been forced to reduce or delay cancer screening and diagnostic tests. And symptomatic but undiagnosed cancer patients have been reluctant to seek care, out of fear of being infected with the coronavirus in a clinical setting.

The result, as Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center hematologist/oncologist Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS, warns in his latest New York Times column, may be a coming surge of cancer cases, even as COVID-19 cases are leveling off.

“Those of us in oncology fear a second pandemic of ‘new’ cancer diagnoses, which in reality have been brewing for months,” writes Dr. Sekeres, who is Director of the Leukemia Program and Vice-chair for Clinical Research.. “And not just new cancers but more advanced cancers. It is entirely possible that, in the latter part of 2020 and into 2021, we will see a shift to higher stages of cancer because of these delays in diagnoses. We may lose our window to intervene early, when cancer is still at an early stage, and eliminate it.”


Read Dr. Sekeres’ full column here.

Related Articles

adverse events from immune checkpoint inhibitors
December 21, 2023
Managing Hormone Dysfunction-Related Adverse Events of Immunotherapy for Breast Cancer Treatment

Timing and type of side effects differ greatly from chemotherapy

October 18, 2023
Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute to Host Head & Neck Cancer CME Symposium

Sessions explore treatment advances and multidisciplinary care

23-CNR-4210971-CQD-Hero-650×450 Dr Yu
October 9, 2023
Pathway Cross-Talk Suggests New Approach to Glioblastoma Treatment

New research from Cleveland Clinic helps explain why these tumors are so refractory to treatment, and suggests new therapeutic avenues

23-CNR-4071967-CQD-Hero-650×450 scan for triple-negative breast cancer case study
September 19, 2023
Patient With Stage 4 Triple-Negative Breast Cancer in Remission 10 Years After Initial Diagnosis

Combination of olaparib and carboplatin results in complete durable response for a patient with BRCA2 and “BRCAness” mutations

23-CNR-4140381-CQD-Hero-650×450 eye toxicities in cancer treatment
September 7, 2023
Eye Toxicities More Prevalent Side Effect of Cancer Treatment Than Previously Understood

Early communication between oncologists and ophthalmologist warranted

August 31, 2023
CME Program Takes Multidisciplinary Approach to Colorectal Cancer

Case-based course delves into latest treatment approaches

outreach to underserved communities
June 2, 2023
Focus Groups Amplify the Voices of Black Congregants about Disparities in Clinical Trials

Long-term relationship building and engagement key to gaining community trust