IN 2020 THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY PREDICTS THERE WILL BE OVER 1.8 MILLION NEW CANCER CASES.
CURRENTLY 1 MILLION COVID CASES AS OF APRIL 28TH, 2020.
HOW IS THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY RECONCILING THE NEED FOR CONTINUED CANCER TREATMENTS AND DIAGNOSES DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME? Oncologists around the world are evaluating how to best serve their patients during the present global pandemic given that some cancer treatments have immune system suppressing side effects, which may adversely impact anyone infected with the Covid-19 Virus. They are also aware of the risk of their immunocompromised patients contracting Covid-19. But, they know that stopping or canceling treatment, could cause negative effects including disease progression. Radiation therapy is a treatment option that does not usually affect the immune system because of its highly localized nature. Radiation Oncologists use a relatively safer form of treating cancer patients avoiding large fields or using radio surgery. Some patients who undergo treatment in a hospital setting may have Radiation Therapy delayed or even cancelled entirely to make room for COVID-19 patients and to avoid contagion. And while it is true that some elderly cancer patients may already be immune compromised and more susceptible to this virus, this does not necessarily merit a delay in treatment. In an outpatient setting only treating cancer patients the contagion risk can be minimized. At ICI we are also offering elective and follow-up visits using telemedicine and are triaged based on their particular needs.
Some societies have published guidelines around specific cancers that we recommend reviewing carefully.
Breast cancer – The American Society of Breast Surgeons has published brief, high level guidance on prioritization for care in breast cancer. In addition, the American College of Surgeons has published guidance on triage of patients with breast cancer for surgery.
Hematological malignancy – The American Society of Hematology has released guidance related to several different malignancies.
Hepatocellular carcinoma – The International Liver Cancer Association (ILCA) has released guidance related to are of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.
Surgery – The Society of Surgical Oncology has published brief guidance on surgery for several different disease sites.
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