This page was last updated on 06/22/2020. Please check back frequently for updates.
Cancer Screening: Can/should members of the community continue recommended cancer screening activities (e.g. screening mammography)?
To conserve health system resources and reduce patient contact with health care facilities, ASCO recommends that cancer screening procedures that require clinic/center visits such as screening mammograms and colonoscopy be postponed for the time being. Clinical care teams are advised to carefully weigh the risks and benefits of pursuing elective procedures, such as screening procedures, at this time.
Diagnosis and Staging: How can/should diagnosis and staging interventions (e.g. imaging visits, biopsy) be modified by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? Is there any evidence that COVID-19 infection influences the ability to diagnose or stage disease (e.g. chest imaging for potential lung cancer)?
In general, as recommended by the CDC, any clinic visits that can be postponed without risk to the patient should be postponed. This may potentially include patients who are suspected clinically of disease at low risk of rapid progression (e.g. minor suspicious findings on mammography).
ASCO is aware of no evidence that that COVID-19 infection interferes with or influences the diagnosis and staging of cancer. In a patient newly diagnosed with cancer, it is reasonable to limit staging procedures only to those that are most necessary to inform development of the initial care plan. Should evidence become available, this statement will be updated.
Surveillance: Can/should patients receiving ongoing surveillance (e.g. imaging for detection of recurrence, active surveillance for existing disease) have that surveillance delayed/interrupted?
In general, as recommended by the CDC, any clinic visits that can be postponed without risk to the patient should be postponed. This likely includes routine surveillance in patients considered to be at relatively low risk of recurrence and those who are asymptomatic during the follow-up period. In situations where existing recommendations provide frequency ranges for interventions (e.g. every 3-6 months) it is reasonable to delay scheduled interventions to the longest recommended frequency duration.