Cancer diagnostics and surgery have been disrupted by the response of healthcare services to the COVID-19 pandemic. Progression of cancers during delay will impact on patient long-term survival. Sud et al., in a paper published in Annals of Oncology, found:
- Lockdown and re-deployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic is causing significant disruption to cancer diagnosis and management.
- 3-month delay to surgery across all Stage 1-3 cancers is estimated to cause >4,700 attributable deaths per year in England.
- The impact on life years lost of 3-6 month to surgery for Stage 1-3 disease varies widely between tumour types.
- Strategic prioritisation of patients for diagnostics and surgery has potential to mitigate deaths attributable to delays.
- The resource-adjusted benefit in avoiding delay in cancer management compares favourably to admission for COVID-19 infection.