Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on breast cancer screening and early diagnosis




Breast Neoplasms; Mammography; COVID-19; Early Diagnosis; Medical Oncology.


Objective: to analyze the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on breast cancer screening and early diagnosis. Methods: an ecological retrospective study of data from the Department of Informatics of the Unified Health System collected between 2016 and 2020 was carried out. The data collection was guided by a semi-structured script, and the impact of the pandemic on breast cancer screen and diagnosis was established by using a formula and comparing the period of interest to 2020. Results: in Brazil, there was a significant drop in mammograms performed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a decrease of 361,855 exams from 2016 to 2020. Most diagnostic investigations were conducted with patients between 50 and 59 years, and there was a significant drop in mammograms in women aged under 40 years. Conclusion: the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted screening and early diagnosis of breast cancer due to reduced availability. Contributions to practice: the study reinforces the importance of investing in public policies to face the pandemic scenario so that screening and treatment protocols be well targeted to guarantee better care for cancer patients.


Ferlay J, Colombet M, Soerjomataram I, Mathers C, Parkin DM, Piñeros M, et al. Estimating the global cancer incidence and mortality in 2018: GLOBOCAN sources and methods. Int J Cancer. 2019;144(8):1941-53. doi:

Guerra MR, Nogueira MC, Malta DC, Correa CSL, Souza MFM, Curado MP, et al. Inequalities in the burden of female breast cancer in Brazil, 1990–2017. Popul Health Metrics. 2020;18(8):8-13. doi:

Ministério da Saúde (BR). Instituto Nacional de Câncer. Incidência de câncer no Brasil: estimativa 2020 [Internet]. 2019 [cited Mar 13, 2022]. Available from:

Barbosa AP, Ricacheneisky LF, Daudt CG. Prevenção e rastreamento de neoplasias femininas: mama e colo do útero. Acta Méd [Internet]. 2018 [cited Jan 28, 2022];39(2):335-45. Available from:

Ginsburg O, Yip CH, Brooks A, Cabanes A, Caleffi M, Yataco JAD et al. Breast cancer early detection: A phased approach to implementation. Cancer. 2020;126(Suppl 10):2379-93. doi:

Migowski A, Dias MBK, Nadanovsky P, Silva GAE, Sant’Ana DR, Stein AT. Guidelines for early detection of breast cancer in Brazil. III - challenges for implementation. Cad Saúde Pública. 2018;34(6):e00046317. doi:

Ministério da Saúde (BR). Instituto Nacional de Câncer. Coordenação de Prevenção e Vigilância (CONPREV). Divisão de Detecção Precoce e Apoio à Organização de Rede (DIDEPRE). Nota Técnica Detecção precoce de câncer durante a pandemia de Covid-19 [Internet]. 2020 [cited Feb 1, 2022]. Available from:

Petrova D, Pérez-Gómez B, Pollán M, Sánchez M. Implicaciones de la pandemia por COVID-19 sobre el cáncer em España. Med Clin (Barc). 2020;155(6):263-6. doi:

Ministério da Saúde (BR). Departamento de Informática do SUS. Informações de Saúde (TABNET) [Internet]. 2021 [cited Jan 28, 2022]. Avai- lable from:

Ministério da Saúde (BR). Instituto Nacional de Câncer. Diretrizes para a detecção precoce do câncer de mama no Brasil [Internet]. 2015 [cited Jan 28, 2022]. Available from:

Mitchell EP. Declines in cancer screening during COVID-19 pandemic. J Natl Med Assoc. 2020;112(6):563-4. doi:

Figueroa JD, Gray E, Pashayan N, Deandrea S, Karch A, Vale DB, et al. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on breast cancer early detection and screening. Prev Med. 2021;151(1):1-7. doi:

Naidich JJ, Boltyenkov A, Wang JJ, Chusid J, Hughes D, Sanelli PC. Impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on imaging case volumes. J Am Coll Radiol. 2020;17(7):865-72. doi:

Tachibana BMT, Ribeiro RLM, Federeci EEF, Feres R, Lupinacci FAZ, Yonekura I, et al. The delay of breast cancer diagnosis during the COVID-19 pandemic in São Paulo, Brazil. Einstein (São Paulo). 2021;19:eAO6721. doi:

Santos CPRS, Fernandes AFC, Silva DM, Castro RCMB. Restructuring service at a mastology outpatient clinic during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rev Bras Enferm. 2021;74(Suppl 1):e20200571. doi:

Urban LABD, Chala LF, Bauab SP, Schaefer MB, Santos RP, Maranhão NMA, et al. Breast cancer screening: updated recommendations of the Brazilian College of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging, Brazilian Breast Disease Society, and Brazilian Federation of Gynecological and Obstetrical Associations. Radiol Bras. 2017;50(4):244-9. doi:

Marais BJ, Sorrell TC. Pathways to COVID-19 ‘community protection’. Int J Infect Dis. 2020;96(1):496-9. doi:



How to Cite

Corpes, E. de F., Leite, K. M., Silva, D. M. da, Alves, A. C. S., Castro, R. C. M. B., & Rodrigues, A. B. (2022). Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on breast cancer screening and early diagnosis . Rev Rene, 23, e78620.



Research Article

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>