- Cancer surgery patients should be considered “essential” and they should be among the last group of to be delayed.
- In case a hospital cannot carry out non-emergency surgeries, a jurisdictional coordination should facilitate transfer care of cancer patients to less overwhelmed institutions, rather than delaying surgery.
- In spite of that, triage of cancer surgery cases must be considered because of the potential shortage of supplies, personnel, beds, and to maximize social distancing among patients.
- The risk of progression with cancer delay must be weighted against the risk for severe morbidity from COVID-19:
- exposure in the healthcare system
- increased vulnerability after oncologic treatments
- patient’s comorbidities
These general recommendations come from documents produced by Canadian Partnership against Cancer and the Society of Surgical Oncology who provide a more detailed guideline for cancer surgeries triage. Kutikov et al also provide an interesting figure for non specialists in oncology about decisions for immediate cancer treatments during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Canadian Partnership against Cancer (April 3, 2020) Guidance for management of cancer surgery during COVID-19 pandemic. Retrieved from https://cags-accg.ca/covid-19-update/resources/
- Society of Surgical Oncology, (March 23, 2020) Cancer Surgeries in the Time of COVID-19: A message from the SSO President and President-Elect, Retrieved from https://cags-accg.ca/covid-19-update/resources/
- Kutikov A., Weinberg D., Edelman M., et al (March 27, 2020) A War on Two Fronts: Cancer Care in the Time of COVID-19, Annals of Internal Medicine. https://doi.org/10.7326/m20-1133