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Miss a cancer screening during the pandemic? American Cancer Society reminds patients that early detection is critical.

Elias Alarcon
A mammography machine helps detect breast cancer.

A recent study by the American Cancer Society has found that millions of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings were missed in the U.S. in 2020 because of the pandemic, leading the organization to partner with Missouri healthcare leaders to encourage testing.

The effort, labeled the "Increase Your Screen Time—Your Cancer Screen Time," campaign, is collecting data to survey the severity of the issue.

Jason McClelland, senior executive director of the American Cancer Society in Missouri, said it will take time to determine the impact of the missed screenings.

"To find out what impact that the pandemic really had on cancer overall—it's going to take a few years," said McClelland. "But one of the things they're looking at is when people do come in to get their screenings. And if, unfortunately, they do have a diagnosis of cancer, what stage of cancer is that in?"

Catching cancer early can often mean a better outcome.

The campaign targets all Missourians, but it’s especially aimed at those who delayed or missed a breast, cervical, colorectal or lung cancer screening appointment over the past year.

McClelland said there are several programs in Missouri that offer help for those who can’t afford screenings.

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Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.