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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 171-176

Evaluating oncological outcomes of patients amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Department of Surgical Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Arvind Krishnamurthy
Professor, Cancer Institute (WIA), 38, Sardar Patel Road, Adyar, Chennai 600 036, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JCSR.JCSR_61_20

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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused and continues to cause a great deal of morbidity and mortality among patients worldwide. The unrelenting pandemic has raised important issues with regard to the need for rationing healthcare services in general and oncology care in particular, in the context of strained resources and crisis-handling capacity. The management outcomes of cancer patients amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are not well characterised, and we review the limited available evidences in this regard. These evidences seem to suggest that it is wise to continue standard cancer treatments especially so for patients who test negative for COVID-19 amidst the pandemic, unless there is a compelling reason to consider a deviation. The final decision for starting, delaying or deviating from the standard protocols should ideally be made as a part of a shared multidisciplinary decision-making process and should further be individualised for each patient. Although the exact magnitude of the disruptions on cancer care is difficult to quantify as yet, the oncology community will have to study and introspect on the collateral damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on the long-term outcomes of cancer patients. The world has witnessed many prior pandemics and humanity has survived them all and has eventually emerged stronger, and we hope that this time it will be no different. The need of the hour is for the scientific community to rise, learn from this unprecedented experience and align together towards creating a stronger and safer future.

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