Changes in management of patients with cancer during COVID-19 pandemic

Katarzyna Kosz, Natalia Zarankiewicz, Martyna Zielińska, Aleksandra Kuchnicka

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/JEHS.2020.10.09.070

Abstract


Introduction:  As of March 11, 2020, COVID-19 has been declared as a global pandemic. It has spread rapidly and profoundly impact the function of health care system all around the world. As a result, management and organisation of oncology units had to be altered in order to provide security measures and safe care for patients. 

 Purpose: The aim of this paper is to review current knowledge involving management of patients with malignancies during COVID-19 pandemic. Particular attention has been paid to changes in diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of patients with cancer. 

Material and methods: The review includes publications released in 2019 and 2020. The data has been collected by the use of PubMed, WHO website and other online published guidance. 

Results: As a lot of clinical trials has been suspended, current therapy options for patients with cancer has been also limited. Moreover, patients became fearful of becoming infected by SARS-CoV-2 and accordingly they were less likely to attend screening programmes. Additionally, as the amount of surgeries has been reduced, the need for radiotherapy service has increased. Chemotherapy has been found to be risky for patients with cancer as it may favour them to SARS-CoV-2 infection. 

Conclusions: Appropriate security measures need to be implemented in order to protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection but optimal health care access should be provided as well. There is a high necessity to share knowledge and experience on the impact of pandemic on patients with malignancies. However, a lot of patients are fearful of COVID-19, adverse effects of delayed diagnosis, treatment and follow-up should not be diminished. 


Keywords


cancer; covid-19; malignancy

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References


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