A routine mammogram | Photo by: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, as people avoided doctors’ offices and hospitals canceled nonessential appointments, routine cancer screenings plummeted. Now, we’re starting to see the consequences.

ProPublica tells the story of Teresa Ruvalcaba, a factory worker in Chicago who ignored searing pain in her chest for six months. She was busy with work and afraid of catching COVID-19 at the doctor’s office, and when she finally went to the emergency room, she was diagnosed with advanced inflammatory breast cancer. It was one of the most severe cases oncologist Pam Khosla had seen in a decade.

Cancer death rates have dropped over 30 percent since the early 1990s, a decline fueled by early detection and new…

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