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Changing Oncology Treatment Paradigms in the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Emil Lou
    Correspondence
    Address for correspondence: Emil Lou, MD, PhD, Medical Director, Clinical Trials Office - Solid Tumor Unit, Masonic Cancer Center, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, Mayo Mail Code 480, 420 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
    Affiliations
    Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN

    Clinical Trials Office-Solid Tumor Unit, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

    Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
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  • Subbaya Subramanian
    Affiliations
    Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

    Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN
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      The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the oncology community to quickly reassess and adapt standard-of-care practices in an effort to minimize risk of COVID-specific infection-related morbidity in cancer patients. Newly released analysis confirms deep concerns that patients with cancer undergoing active treatment, and/or with intact metastatic disease,
      • Dai M.
      • Liu D.
      • Liu M.
      • et al.
      Patients with cancer appear more vulnerable to SARS-COV-2: a multi-center study during the COVID-19 outbreak.
      are among the most particularly vulnerable patients amidst this pandemic. Physicians and care teams helping patients with cancer have had to make or at least consider difficult decisions, including how to best balance the risk-safety profile of cancer treatment with emerging and rapidly evolving risks associated with COVID-19 infection and the broad range of potential sequelae of this infection. This overarching concern is especially present for patients with gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, which represent a particularly broad set of diverse disease entities that require multispeciality input and management. Along with the significant delays in cancer treatment, colorectal cancer (CRC) screening has also dropped down to 86% to 94%.

      Rebecca R. Routine cancer screenings have plummeted during the pandemic, medical records data show. STAT 2020. Available at: https://www.statnews.com/2020/05/04/cancer-screenings-drop-coronavirus-pandemic-epic/. Accessed: May 25, 2020.

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