COVID-19 has strained population breast mammography screening programs that aim to diagnose and treat breast cancers earlier. As the pandemic has affected countries differently, we aimed to quantify changes in breast screening volume and uptake during the first year of COVID-19 crisis. We systematically searched Medline, the WHO (World Health Organization) COVID-19 database, and governmental databases. Studies covering January 2020 to March 2022 were included. We extracted and analyzed data regarding study methodology, screening volume and uptake. To assess for risk-of-bias, we used the Joanna Briggs Institute Critical Appraisal tool. Twenty-six cross-sectional descriptive studies (focusing on 13 countries) were included out of 935 independent records. Reductions in screening volume and uptake rates were observed among eight countries. Changes in screening participation volume in five countries with national population-based screening ranged from -1331based programs the decline ranged from -6141 population participation volumes varied ranging from +1839HMO, Medicare, and low-income programs). Almost all studies had high risk-of-bias due to insufficient statistical analysis and confounding factors. Extent of COVID-19-induced reduction in breast screening participation volume differed by region and data suggested potential differences by healthcare setting (e.g., national health insurance vs private health care). Recovery efforts should monitor access to screening and early diagnosis to determine if prevention services need strengthening to increase coverage of disadvantaged groups and reduce disparities.

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Lee, R., Xu, W., Dozier, M., McQuillan, R., Theodoratou, E. & Figueroa, J. 2023, 'A rapid review on the COVID-19's global impact on breast cancer screening participation rates and volumes from January-December 2020', eLife. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.85680

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Last updated: 26 September 2023
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