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Front Public Health ; 10: 988736, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2023011
Ecancermedicalscience ; 15: 1264, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1666970


BACKGROUND: Patients with cancer across the world have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic due to increased risk of infection and disruption to cancer diagnosis and treatment. Widening of healthcare disparities is expected as the gap between health systems with and without adequate resources to mitigate the pandemic become more apparent. We undertook a bibliometric analysis of research related to cancer and COVID-19 to understand (1) the type of research that has been conducted (e.g. patients, services and systems) and (2) whether the pandemic has impacted the state of global cancer research as measured by research outputs to date. METHODS: An existing filter for cancer research consisting of title words and the names of specialist cancer journals was used to identify cancer and COVID-19 related articles and reviews in the Web of Science (©Clarivate Analytics) between January 2019 and February 2021. RESULTS: One thousand five hundred and forty-five publications were identified. The majority (57%) were reviews, opinion pieces or concerned with modelling impact of delays to diagnosis and treatment. The main research domains focused on managing or estimating COVID-19 risk to cancer patients accounting for 384 papers (25%). High Income countries contributed the largest volume (n = 1,115; 72%), compared to Upper Middle (n = 302; 20%), Lower Middle (n = 122; 8%) and Low Income countries (n = 2.4; 0.2%). No evidence of a reduction in global cancer research output was observed in 2020. CONCLUSIONS: We observed a shift in research focus rather than a decline in absolute output. However, there is variation based on national income and collaborations are minimal. There has been a focus on pan-cancer studies rather than cancer site-specific studies. Strengthening global multidisciplinary research partnerships with teams from diverse backgrounds with regard to gender, clinical expertise and resource setting is essential to prevent the widening of cancer inequalities.

Future Oncol ; 18(10): 1211-1218, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1626702


Objective: The authors monitored positivity rates of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 tests during the second wave of COVID-19 at Guy's Cancer Centre. Methods: Logistic regression was used to investigate factors associated with asymptomatic COVID-19 positivity rates between 1 December 2020 and 28 February 2021 (n = 1346). Results: Living 20-40 km and 40-60 km from the alpha variant was associated with a reduced chance of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test compared with 0-20 km (odds ratio [OR]: 0.20; CI: 0.07-0.53 and OR: 0.38; CI: 0.15-0.98, respectively). An increased number of tests was associated with an increased chance of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test (OR: 1.10; CI: 1.04-1.16). Conclusion: The COVID-19 positivity rate of asymptomatic cancer patients is partly due to increased testing, with some contribution from the proximity of the patient population to the epicenter of the alpha variant.

The UK's second wave of COVID-19 was partly driven by the emergence of the alpha variant in the southeast of England in November 2020, spreading farther to become the predominant variant across England in December 2020. The alpha variant is associated with a greater transmissibility rate, posing an increased risk to the vulnerable population. This raised concerns about the welfare of cancer patients, as the disease and its treatment can lower one's ability to fight infection. This resulted in some cancer treatments being interrupted or stopped on the grounds of clinical safety and some follow-up care being disrupted. In order to investigate the factors associated with asymptomatic COVID-19 positivity rates between 1 December 2020 and 28 February 2021, the authors gathered information on the number of tests taken per cancer patient at Guy's and extracted data from Guy's approved research database, which houses all routinely collected clinical data on cancer patients. This included demographic data, such as post code and age, as well as number of visits to the hospital. From their analysis, the authors concluded that living closer to the epicenter of the alpha variant was associated with a high positivity rate; also, the more tests taken, the more likely the patients are to test positive. Therefore, the authors can conclude that attending the hospital does not increase the risk of transmission.

Asymptomatic Infections/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Neoplasms/complications , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Female , Hospitals , Humans , Logistic Models , Male , Middle Aged
Front Public Health ; 9: 741223, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1593365


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on global health systems and economies. With ongoing and future challenges posed to the field due to the pandemic, re-examining research priorities has emerged as a concern. As part of a wider project aiming to examine research priorities, here we aimed to qualitatively examine the documented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer researchers. Materials and Methods: We conducted a literature review with the aim of identifying non-peer-reviewed journalistic sources and institutional blog posts which qualitatively documented the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer researchers. We searched on 12th January 2021 using the LexisNexis database and Google, using terms and filters to identify English-language media reports and blogs, containing references to both COVID-19 and cancer research. The targeted search returned 751 results, of which 215 articles met the inclusion criteria. These 215 articles were subjected to a conventional qualitative content analysis, to document the impacts of the pandemic on the field of cancer research. Results: Our analysis yielded a high plurality of qualitatively documented impacts, from which seven categories of direct impacts emerged: (1) COVID measures halting cancer research activity entirely; (2) COVID measures limiting cancer research activity; (3) forced adaptation of research protocols; (4) impacts on cancer diagnosis, cases, and services; (5) availability of resources for cancer research; (6) disruption to the private sector; and (7) disruption to supply chains. Three categories of consequences from these impacts also emerged: (1) potential changes to future research practice; (2) delays to the progression of the field; and (3) potential new areas of research interest. Discussion: The COVID-19 pandemic had extensive practical and economic effects on the field of cancer research in 2020 that were highly plural in nature. Appraisal of cancer research strategies in a post-COVID world should acknowledge the potential for substantial limitations (such as on financial resources, limited access to patients for research, decreased patient access to cancer care, staffing issues, administrative delays, or supply chain issues), exacerbated cancer disparities, advances in digital health, and new areas of research related to the intersection of cancer and COVID-19.

COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Humans , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2
J Cancer Policy ; 31: 100316, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1561543


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has been highly disruptive for cancer care. Here, we examined the effect COVID-19 had on performance of the 62-day Cancer Waiting Time (CWT) target set by the National Health Service (NHS) in England. METHODS: Data were retrospectively obtained on COVID-19 hospitalisations and CWT for NHS hospitals in England (n = 121). We produced a 'COVID-19 burden' to describe the proportion of each provider's beds occupied with COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 burden was examined against CWT performance for 1st April - 30th May 2020 (Wave 1), and 1st October - 30th November 2020 (Wave 2). Two-tailed Spearman correlations were used to identify relationships between COVID-19 burden and CWT performance amongst different referral (i.e., 2-week-wait (2 W W) and internal specialist) and tumour types. Significantly correlated variables were further examined using linear regression models. RESULTS: COVID-19 burden was negatively associated with the percentage of 2 W W pathway referrals that met the CWT target in Wave 1 (r= -0.30, p = 0.001) and Wave 2 (r= -0.21, p = 0.02). These associations were supported by the results from our linear regression models (B for wave 1: -0.71; 95 %CI: -1.03 to -0.40; B for wave 2: -0.38; 95 %CI: -0.68 to -0.07). No associations were found between COVID-19 burden and internal specialist referrals or tumour type. CONCLUSION: Increased COVID-19 burden was associated with lower compliance with CWT targets amongst urgent referrals from primary care in England. This will likely be an ongoing issue due to the backlog of patients awaiting investigations and treatment. POLICY SUMMARY: As the number of cancer referrals improve, we highlight the need for changes to primary and secondary care to manage the backlog within cancer diagnostic services to alleviate the impact of COVID-19.

COVID-19 , Neoplasms , COVID-19/diagnosis , England/epidemiology , Humans , Neoplasms/diagnosis , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , State Medicine
Front Public Health ; 9: 741188, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518572


Introduction: The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic has been highly disruptive for people with cancer. Furthermore, it has been shown that accrual to cancer trials dropped substantially in 2020. Building on findings from a previous pilot survey, the present study used qualitative methods to gain insights into attitudes towards participation in research studies amongst people who have experienced cancer, in the context of the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Materials and Methods: We interviewed 13 participants from the UK, who were purposively sampled, including a broad sample of cancer types, and a mixture of individuals who have and have not taken part in research previously. Participants underwent semi-structured interviews (median interview duration: 47 min) and were asked open-ended questions about their attitude towards and experiences with COVID-19, and their attitude towards research participation. In addition to this, prompts were used to ask participants about concerns that were highlighted by our previous quantitative work on this topic, such as concerns about being older or having to travel to participate. Interview transcripts were analysed using a framework analysis approach. Results: Our findings suggest that cancer patient decision-making about research participation during an infectious disease pandemic may be a function of a basic cost-benefit analysis, which considers the benefit of taking part, either personally to themselves or to wider society. The benefit may then be weighed by the patient against the risk of being infected, which may be influenced by trust in the relevant clinicians/researchers; familiarity with the study location; provision of detailed information on safety protocols for infectious disease; and, in particular, the availability of safe transport to and from the study location. Discussion: Some cancer patients say that they would be less likely to participate in a research study in the middle of an infectious disease pandemic due to an increased risk to themselves. Patients' perceived risk to themselves from participating may be ameliorated via the provision of certain practical solutions that can be considered at the study protocol design stage, such as safe travel, information, and the use of staff and study sites familiar to the patient.

COVID-19 , Cancer Survivors , Neoplasms , Attitude , Humans , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
Cancer Control ; 28: 1073274821989315, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1045617


INTRODUCTION: The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is having major effects on cancer research, including major reductions in participant accrual to cancer clinical trials. Existing research has indicated that these steep drops in accrual rates to cancer clinical trials may be disproportionately affecting women. We sought to determine if there were gender differences in a dataset collected to examine participants' concerns about taking part in cancer research during the pandemic. METHODS: Between 5-19 June 2020, we distributed a fully anonymized survey via social media. We contacted 85 UK cancer patient organizations/charities and asked them to share our questionnaire on their platforms, of which 26 obliged. Patients aged 18 with a cancer diagnosis were eligible to participate and asked about their clinical and demographic characteristics, concerns about research participation given the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety levels measured using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) scale, amongst other questions. Anxiety levels and concerns about participating were compared between men and women using univariate and multivariate analyses. RESULTS: 93 individuals, comprising n = 37 women and n = 56 men of various cancer types, provided survey responses. Independent t-tests showed that women reported higher anxiety scores, and concerns about participating in cancer research during COVID-19, than men. Linear regression analyses showed that anxiety scores predicted concerns about research participation in women but not men (pinteraction = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: Cancer patients have concerns about participating in research during the COVID-19 pandemic that range from mild to serious. Furthermore, the relationship between general anxiety and concerns about research participation may be both more relevant and more pronounced in women than in men. Future work should examine the reasons why women are less likely to enrol in cancer trials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Neoplasms/psychology , Patient Participation/psychology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety/psychology , COVID-19/psychology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/therapy , Patient Participation/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2 , Sex Factors , Surveys and Questionnaires