Lung Cancer Services and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:Covid-19, malignancy, lung cancer services
AbstractThe first outbreak of COVID-19 was reported in December 2019 in Wuhan, China and it was declared as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. To cope with the high infectivity and increasing number of deaths associated with this disease, the healthcare resources of nearly all countries were directed to put measures in place to manage this disease. As a result, many other services including lung cancer care have been adversely affected as treatments have been delayed. The widespread lockdowns and advice to stay at home especially with common symptoms of cough has resulted in late presentations and possible upstaging of lung cancer. Owing to this similarity of symptoms and pressures faced by respiratory community to manage COVID-19 pandemic, the lung cancer patients will encounter delays in their management leading to untoward effects on their survival and quality of lives. According to an estimate, the impact of COVID-19 could lead to an additional 1372 deaths due to lung cancer in the United Kingdom alone. There has also been reluctance among the oncology community to treat patients with systemic anticancer agents due to fear of patients catching COVID-19 infection. There should be a balance between the risks and benefits of providing cancer services during this pandemic and every step should be taken to minimize delays faced by patients with lung cancer.
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