ROCHESTER, Minn. - More people under the age of 50 are getting diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
The pandemic has affected the diagnosis of colorectal cancers, but Mayo Clinic doctors say getting screened is very important.
Mayo Clinic's Doctor Timothy Woodward says there has been an estimated 90% decrease in colonoscopies globally during the pandemic.
With the decrease in colonoscopies, Dr. Woodward says there is a projected risk of 19,000 missed or delayed diagnoses.
From that, doctors predict about 4,500 deaths.
Dr. Woodward says not only are there fewer screenings being done, there are also fewer places to get a screening.
"There's been now about 2,000 health centers that have closed because of the disease. With that closure, they're usually in rural areas or urban areas. With that loss, what we have now is you've lost that connection, that ability to bring those groups into the screening scenario," says Dr. Woodward.
Mayo Clinic doctos say there are other testing options available to do from home to see if a colonoscopy is necessary.
With those statistics, Dr. Woodward emphasizes to not delay checkups, despite the pandemic.