Management of cancer patients during COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Roxana-Andreea Rahnea-Niță1,3, Șef de lucr. dr. Gabriela Rahnea-Niță2,3, Asist. univ. dr. Alexandru-Rareș Stoian2,3, Dr. Anda-Natalia Ciuhu1,3 
1 Spitalul de Boli Cronice “Sf. Luca”, București, România, 2Universitatea de Medicină și Farmacie „Dr. Carol Davila”, București, România, 3Oncologie, 4 Chirurgie

Primit: 20.05.2020 • Acceptat pentru publicare: 19.06.2020

Abstract

Background: COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the new coronavirus, SARS-COV-2. Elderly patients, those with comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease or cancer, are more likely to develop more severe forms of the disease. During COVID-19 pandemic, cancer patients wanted to continue the oncological treatment, this being a priority for them.

Material and method: We evaluated the medical records of all patients hospitalized in the Chronic Oncology-Palliative Care Department of the Chronic Diseases Hospital “St. Luke” Bucharest, during a period of 8 weeks of emergency (15.03-8.05, 2020). Between 25.04-8.05, the testing for SARS-CoV-2 was performed, by RT-PCR method, of all the asymptomatic patients hospitalized in the department.

Discussion: Delaying oncological treatments, as well as delaying palliative care for cancer patients, can have repercussions on disease progression, overall survival, and quality of life (treatment of symptoms with an increased frequency of cancer, such as pain syndrome, nausea and vomiting, cannot be delayed). However, delaying active cancer treatments cannot be recommended as an option to reduce the risk of pandemic infection.

Conclusions: During the COVID-19 global pandemic, between 15.03 and 8.05, 2020, our department ensured the continuity of oncological treatments and palliative care for cancer patients. No patients admitted to our ward were positively diagnosed for SARS-CoV-2 virus infection until May 08, 2020.

Keywords: COVID-19, cancer patients, continuity of oncological and palliative treatment

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