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J Patient Exp ; 8: 23743735211039328, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1394400


During the COVID-19 pandemic, most cancer centers shifted from in-person to virtual cancer care to curb community spread and ensure care continuity. This qualitative descriptive study aimed to understand cancer patient-perceived risks related to COVID-19 and cancer treatment, as well as the patient-perceived and experienced value of virtual care. From June to August 2020, focus groups were conducted with patients under active management or observation for a diagnosed malignancy in Toronto, Canada. A thematic analysis of six focus groups found that most participants worried more about treatment delays than they did about COVID-19 infection. Despite some concern about COVID-19 exposure in the hospital, care delays contributed to increased anxiety among participants who already subscribed to strict safety measures in their everyday lives. Most participants accepted virtual care for some appointment types; however, preference for in-person care was found to sustain the humanistic and therapeutic aspects of cancer care that many participants valued. Nuances in the appropriateness and adequacy of virtual cancer care still need exploration. Preserving the humanistic aspects of care is of paramount importance.