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San based researcher interviewed on Channel 9 about breast cancer

An increase in more cases of advanced breast cancer since before the pandemic has been linked to breast screening service shutdowns during COVID-19, a new study from The Australian National University (ANU) shows. 
Researchers from the ANU Clinical School based at Sydney Adventist Hospital (the San) studied patients with breast cancer diagnosed between July 2019 and June 2022. The patients were categorised into pre-pandemic, pandemic and post-pandemic groups. 
According to the study's findings, women faced two major challenges during the pandemic. First, many were frightened to attend general practitioner and hospital appointments for fear of catching COVID. Second, the national BreastScreen Australia program was closed during 2020 and 2021 for a total of six months. 

According to the researchers, two key concerns emerged as a consequence. During the pandemic 53 per cent of women presented with symptoms that were not detected by mammography. This figure was as high as 57 per cent in the post-pandemic period. Both the pandemic and post-pandemic figures are much higher than the pre-pandemic period, where the figure was 42 per cent.  

Alarmingly, there were more patients with advanced breast cancer (stage 3 or 4) in the pandemic and post-pandemic group (8.5 per cent and 7 per cent) compared to the pre-pandemic group (4.6 per cent). Patients also had more chance of the disease spreading to their lymph nodes and developing into stage 2 breast cancer. 

Lead author, Professor John Boyages AM, from ICON Cancer Centre at Sydney Adventist Hospital (the San) spoke to Channel 9 Presenter Davina Smith about the study’s findings. 

You can watch the interview in full by clicking here. 

Sydney Adventist Hospital would like to acknowledge and thank the San Foundation for their generous funding to support cancer research conducted at the hospital.