The coronavirus pandemic could lead to disturbing backwards trends in recent cancer survival improvements. In fact, some experts are concerned about thousands of additional cancer-related deaths in the coming years that exceed what would have otherwise occurred. It comes down to delays in screenings, diagnoses, and treatment in the Covid-19 era.
Even modest delays in cancer surgery lead to significant future harms in overall survival, say researchers in a recent article in the Annals of Oncology. These oncologists caution that: “To avoid a downstream public health crisis of avoidable cancer deaths, cancer diagnostic and surgical pathways must be maintained at normal throughput, with rapid attention to any backlog already accrued.”
As always, the development of a patient’s cancer treatment plan should involve careful consideration of disease-related and patient-related factors, but it is increasingly clear that delays in diagnostic testing will mean more patients learning a cancer diagnosis at a later stage of cancer – which in turn affects their treatment and outcomes.
As healthcare providers, we all need to balance the navigation of a pandemic with the management of existing and newly developed cancers to create the most optimal outcomes for the community as a whole. The last thing any of us want is for this new public health crisis to ripple out and fuel other health concerns.
Remember, you can count on BioPlus in these tough times, and in the better days ahead.