Oops, you're using an old version of your browser so some of the features on this page may not be displaying properly.

MINIMAL Requirements: Google Chrome 24+Mozilla Firefox 20+Internet Explorer 11Opera 15–18Apple Safari 7SeaMonkey 2.15-2.23

Mini oral session - Gastrointestinal tumours, colorectal

390MO - Colorectal (CRC) cancer screening and diagnosis during the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec, Canada


18 Sep 2021


Mini oral session - Gastrointestinal tumours, colorectal


Mustapha Tehfe


Annals of Oncology (2021) 32 (suppl_5): S530-S582. 10.1016/annonc/annonc698


M. Tehfe1, D. Charpentier2, M. Vachon2, M. Champagne3

Author affiliations

  • 1 Hemato-oncology Department, CHUM - Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, H2X 0C1 - Montreal/CA
  • 2 Hematology-oncology, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, H2X0C1 - MONTREAL/CA
  • 3 Hematology-oncology, Hôpital de Verdun, H4G2A3 - Verdun/CA


Login to access the resources on OncologyPRO.

Abstract 390MO


CRC, 3rd most common cancer in Quebec, is the 2nd and 3rd cause of cancer related death in men and women respectively. This study aimed to assess how the provincial screening program and CRC diagnosis were disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Ministry of Health of Quebec data related to cancer screening programs and diagnosis during the periods of March 2019 to February 2020 and March 2020 to February 2021 were recently reported (ISBN: 978-2-550-888379-1). We analyzed and compared the data related to Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT), colonoscopy, and CRC surgery rates for two comparative 4-month periods (April to July).


Status of public health emergency was declared in Quebec on March 16, 2020. All elective procedures were therefore suspended on that date. From April to July 2020, FOBT decreased by 67.26%, colonoscopy procedures by 57.8% and CRC surgery by 29.5% compared to the same period from 2019. Peak of suspension of these activities was reached in April and May 2020. The waiting list for colon endoscopy increased by 210% from April to July 2020 and by 141% from August to October 2020. After the first pandemic wave, from August to October 2020, activities were resumed, colonoscopies were 11.4% less by comparison to the same period in 2019 (57 887 vs 65 326 procedures respectively). Primary CRC surgery procedures done between April and July 2020 were 29.5% less compared to the same period in 2019. For the whole year from March 2020 to February 2021, 21% less CRC resections were done compared to the year March 2019 – February 2020. The waiting list for surgery was reduced by 30% from April to July 2020 most probably because of a lower surgical referral.


The COVID-19 affected screening and lead to decreased CRC diagnosis rate. Even with the recovery to pre-pandemic activities, catching up with the delays is a challenge for health authorities. The impact of the offloading of diagnostic and surgical activities on cancer mortality is hard to be estimated but is likely to be significant.

Clinical trial identification

Editorial acknowledgement

Legal entity responsible for the study

The authors.


Has not received any funding.


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.

This site uses cookies. Some of these cookies are essential, while others help us improve your experience by providing insights into how the site is being used.

For more detailed information on the cookies we use, please check our Privacy Policy.

Customise settings
  • Necessary cookies enable core functionality. The website cannot function properly without these cookies, and you can only disable them by changing your browser preferences.