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JCO Glob Oncol ; 7: 416-424, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1239918


PURPOSE: The coronavirus-induced pandemic has put great pressure on health systems worldwide. Nonemergency health services, such as cancer screening, have been scaled down or withheld as a result of travel restrictions and resources being redirected to manage the pandemic. The present article discusses the challenges to cancer screening implementation in the pandemic environment, suggesting ways to optimize services for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening. METHODS: The manuscript was drafted by a team of public health specialists with expertise in implementation and monitoring of cancer screening. A scoping review of literature revealed the lack of comprehensive guidance on continuation of cancer screening in the midst of waxing and waning of infection. The recommendations in the present article were based on the advisories issued by different health agencies and professional bodies and the authors' understanding of the best practices to maintain quality-assured cancer screening. RESULTS: A well-coordinated approach is required to ensure that essential health services such as cancer management are maintained and elective services are not threatened, especially because of resource constraints. In the context of cancer screening, a few changes in invitation strategies, screening and management protocols and program governance need to be considered to fit into the new normal situation. Restoring public trust in providing efficient and safe services should be one of the key mandates for screening program reorganization. This may be a good opportunity to introduce innovations (eg, telehealth) and consider de-implementing non-evidence-based practices. It is necessary to consider increased spending on primary health care and incorporating screening services in basic health package. CONCLUSION: The article provides guidance on reorganization of screening policies, governance, implementation, and program monitoring.

COVID-19 , Mass Screening/organization & administration , Neoplasms/prevention & control , Breast Neoplasms/diagnosis , Breast Neoplasms/prevention & control , Colorectal Neoplasms/diagnosis , Colorectal Neoplasms/prevention & control , Delivery of Health Care , Early Detection of Cancer , Female , Health Policy , Humans , Mass Screening/methods , Neoplasms/diagnosis , Neoplasms/therapy , Pandemics , Practice Guidelines as Topic , Telemedicine , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/diagnosis , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/prevention & control
Int J Cancer ; 149(1): 97-107, 2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1086364


We conducted a study to document the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on cancer screening continuum in selected low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). LMICs having an operational cancer control plan committed to screen eligible individuals were selected. Managers/supervisors of cancer screening programs were invited to participate in an online survey and subsequent in-depth interview. Managers/supervisors from 18 programs in 17 countries participated. Lockdown was imposed in all countries except Brazil. Screening was suspended for at least 30 days in 13 countries, while diagnostic-services for screen-positives were suspended in 9 countries. All countries except Cameroon, Bangladesh, India, Honduras and China managed to continue with cancer treatment throughout the outbreak. The participants rated service availability compared to pre-COVID days on a scale of 0 (no activities) to 100 (same as before). A rating of ≤50 was given for screening services by 61.1%, diagnostic services by 44.4% and treatment services by 22.2% participants. At least 70% participants strongly agreed that increased noncompliance of screen-positive individuals and staff being overloaded or overwhelmed with backlogs would deeply impact screening programs in the next 6 months at least. Although many of the LMICs were deficient in following the "best practices" to minimize service disruptions, at least some of them made significant efforts to improve screening participation, treatment compliance and program organization. A well-coordinated effort is needed to reinitiate screening services in the LMICs, starting with a situational analysis. Innovative strategies adopted by the programs to keep services on-track should be mutually shared.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Early Detection of Cancer/statistics & numerical data , Neoplasms/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Surveys and Questionnaires/statistics & numerical data , Bangladesh , Brazil , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cameroon , China , Cross-Sectional Studies , Developing Countries , Early Detection of Cancer/methods , Honduras , Humans , India , Neoplasms/therapy , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
Head Neck ; 42(6): 1259-1267, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-46990


The 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a highly contagious zoonosis produced by SARS-CoV-2 that is spread human-to-human by respiratory secretions. It was declared by the WHO as a public health emergency. The most susceptible populations, needing mechanical ventilation, are the elderly and people with associated comorbidities. There is an important risk of contagion for anesthetists, dentists, head and neck surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, ophthalmologists, and otolaryngologists. Health workers represent between 3.8% and 20% of the infected population; some 15% will develop severe complaints and among them, many will lose their lives. A large number of patients do not have overt signs and symptoms (fever/respiratory), yet pose a real risk to surgeons (who should know this fact and must therefore apply respiratory protective strategies for all patients they encounter). All interventions that have the potential to aerosolize aerodigestive secretions should be avoided or used only when mandatory. Health workers who are: pregnant, over 55 to 65 years of age, with a history of chronic diseases (uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and all clinical scenarios where immunosuppression is feasible, including that induced to treat chronic inflammatory conditions and organ transplants) should avoid the clinical attention of a potentially infected patient. Health care facilities should prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures until the present condition stabilizes; truly elective care should cease and discussed on a case-by-case basis for patients with cancer. For those who are working with COVID-19 infected patients' isolation is compulsory in the following settings: (a) unprotected close contact with COVID-19 pneumonia patients; (b) onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath, and other symptoms (gastrointestinal complaints, anosmia, and dysgeusia have been reported in a minority of cases). For any care or intervention in the upper aerodigestive tract region, irrespective of the setting and a confirmed diagnosis (eg, rhinoscopy or flexible laryngoscopy in the outpatient setting and tracheostomy or rigid endoscopy under anesthesia), it is strongly recommended that all health care personnel wear personal protective equipment such as N95, gown, cap, eye protection, and gloves. The procedures described are essential in trying to maintain safety of health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, otolaryngologists, head and neck, and maxillofacial surgeons are per se exposed to the greatest risk of infection while caring for COVID-19 positive subjects, and their protection should be considered a priority in the present circumstances.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional/prevention & control , Otolaryngology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Practice Guidelines as Topic , Practice Patterns, Physicians' , SARS-CoV-2