COVID-19 Impacts on Breast Cancer Screening and Care in the Caribbean and marginalized communities in Ontario.
The COVID‑19 pandemic has placed increasing demands on healthcare services globally with cancelled or delayed surgeries, and ICU capacity limits exceeded in many regions. Unfortunately, many Black and marginalized communities in Canada were disproportionately impacted by COVID‑19 as they had high mortality rates due to being frontline essential workers (transit drivers, PSWs) and living in multi-generational homes. Globally, many healthcare services, including breast cancer screening, were paused during the initial lockdowns and this may have worsened breast cancer care and outcomes in Black and marginalized communities as they currently have the highest breast cancer mortality rate despite have a low overall incidence of breast cancer. In Ontario and the Caribbean, these populations are at higher risks for aggressive breast cancer and death partly due to lower screening and late tumor detection. Our study seeks to assess breast cancer screening practices before and after COVID‑19 lockdown restrictions in immigrant Caribbean and marginalized communities in Ontario and in Barbadian and Jamaican women in the Caribbean. By determining the impacts of COVID‑19 on breast cancer screening and care during the pandemic among these groups of women, our findings will help decrease the known gaps in breast cancer care and outcomes, and inform cancer screening and cancer care policies globally for millions of marginalized women diagnosed with breast cancer.