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Table of Contents
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 155-156

How COVID-19 impacted the care of patients with cancer

Department of Medical Oncology, Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon, India

Date of Submission31-Jan-2021
Date of Decision31-Jan-2021
Date of Acceptance23-Feb-2021
Date of Web Publication26-Mar-2021

Correspondence Address:
Rakesh Chopra
Department of Medical Oncology, Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/crst.crst_24_21

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How to cite this article:
Chopra R. How COVID-19 impacted the care of patients with cancer. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2021;4:155-6

How to cite this URL:
Chopra R. How COVID-19 impacted the care of patients with cancer. Cancer Res Stat Treat [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Apr 23];4:155-6. Available from: https://www.crstonline.com/text.asp?2021/4/1/155/312071

We read with interest the article by Pandey et al.[1] on the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the delivery of cancer care and the accompanying editorial.[2]

Although the study by Pandey et al. is a simple, retrospective case audit, its rationale is not clearly defined. Moreover, the authors have claimed that theirs is the first study to report the real-world data on the effect of the pandemic on cancer care delivery. Yet, contrary to their claim, they have discussed several studies in their article that have reported similar outcomes.[3],[4],[5]

The study by Pandey et al. was aimed at evaluating the changes in the number of patients in the daycare chemotherapy unit and outpatient department before and after the imposition of a nationwide lockdown. However, in our opinion, the decline in the number of patients due to the pandemic could have been better estimated by comparing the number of patient footfalls for the year 2020 with that for 2019 during the same time interval.

Moreover, considering the increased vulnerability of patients with cancer to COVID-19,[6] several cancer care centers provide teleconsultation services. The authors have not mentioned whether such services were offered to the less serious patients at their center. It is also not mentioned whether their hospital was functioning at full capacity during the study period. In addition, the authors could have considered providing some information about the management of the biomedical waste during the pandemic, as it could become a potential source of COVID-19 infection unintentionally. Lastly, it is not mentioned whether the cases reported in this study were old or newly diagnosed and if there were any newly diagnosed cases, then how they were managed.

Although, the editorial by Ghosh and Ganguly[2] fairly summarizes the findings from Pandey et al.'s[1] study, we believe that it fails to adequately describe the biases that may have crept in because of its retrospective nature and how these biases could have impacted the reported outcomes. The authors could have discussed in their editorial about how a prospective evaluation of the change in the patient footfalls due to the pandemic would have been better. Gosh et al. have rightly pointed out that the distance of the health-care facility from the place of residence of the patients should have been taken into account during the analysis by Pandey et al. However, in addition to this, the local culture and customs and the general perception of cancer among people could also have contributed to the decrease in patient footfalls during the pandemic. This aspect has not been addressed in the article or in the editorial. Thus, the editorial could have been a little more summative and conclusive.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Pandey A, Rani M, Chandra N, Pandey M, Singh R, Monalisa K, et al. Impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on cancer care delivery: A single-center retrospective study. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:683-91.  Back to cited text no. 1
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Ghosh J, Ganguly S. Decline in the number of patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic: A matter of concern or just a statistic? Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:793-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
  [Full text]  
Patil VM, Srikanth A, Noronha V, Joshi A, Dhumal S, Menon N, et al. The pattern of care in head-and-neck cancer: Comparison between before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:7-12.  Back to cited text no. 3
  [Full text]  
Chauhan R, Trivedi V, Rani R, Singh U, Singh V, Shubham S, et al. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the practice of radiotherapy: A retrospective single-institution study. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:467-74.  Back to cited text no. 4
  [Full text]  
Dhar H, Datta S. Experience of treating head and neck cancers in government and private health-care systems during the COVID-19 pandemic: A viewpoint with summary of existing guidelines. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3 Suppl S1:123-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
Bansal N, Ghafur A. COVID-19 in oncology settings. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3 Suppl S1:13-4.  Back to cited text no. 6


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