Considerations for the Reorganization of Cancer Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic, 26 May 2020
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Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, health systems around the world have focused on reorganizing healthcare services and prioritizing hospital beds and intensive care units to manage people with COVID-19. This has included the suspension or reduction of elective cancer care and clinical visits for assessment, diagnosis and management, except for high-risk cancer patients. It has been noted that people who have COVID-19 and an underlying condition such as cancer have higher mortality than those without cancer. In addition, people with cancer are more likely to have complications from COVID-19. Despite strategies to maintain health services such as hemodialysis, oncology, chemotherapy, and others, there has been a significant reduction in access to service for patients who were being diagnosed or treated for cancer, due to their high risk. Studies have demonstrated that delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment have an impact on the progression of cancer. This could lead to future peaks in mortality from potentially curable cancers, as a result of not receiving standard treatment. For this reason, cancer services should rapidly manage and avoid any cumulative delays in treatment and prevent an increase in avoidable deaths from cancer.
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