Written by Andrea (Andi) Dwyer, Director of the Colorado Cancer Screening Program
In the wake of COVID-19, we are now picking up the pieces after a stand-still in cancer screening, disruptions in cancer care and preparing for the increased cancer incidence and mortality as a result. The elective procedure ban dramatically reduced elective procedures in Colorado and the CCSP Program saw overall a 95% drop in people being navigated into colonoscopies, low dose CT imaging and genetic counseling, March-June of 2020 as compared to 2019 rates. This is particularly salient as CCSP is one of the only statewide programs in Colorado with emphasis on delivering care who are in rural communities, communities of color and those who have limited incomes who are most challenged to access resources. We are at the cross-roads of health and access to care; the need has never been more apparent.
To address this need, CCSP and other programs targeted at reducing health disparities have helped aid in fiscal support and technical support to deploy programs for patient navigation and helping reducing the factors that get in the way of people getting screening, like transportation and securing bowel preparation. CCSP has navigated over 30,000 people into preventive screening and prevented hundreds of cancers and equally caught cancers when they were earlier in stage and easier to treat. There is also great fiscal implication for these case studies of prevention and disease management.
CCSP made it another year with CCPD grant support, fingers crossed. Beyond the summer of 2021, the future of the Program is not known but with the support of the Colorado Cancer Coalition and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, there are deeper opportunities to explore how programs for the medically underserved might sustain beyond fleeting grant funding. The University of Colorado team is honored to work with our safety net clinic systems and community partners to make the most of this year and continue to Champion the cancer cause to all Colorado communities.