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J Natl Cancer Inst ; 114(4): 571-578, 2022 Apr 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1566036


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to delays in patients seeking care for life-threatening conditions; however, its impact on treatment patterns for patients with metastatic cancer is unknown. We assessed the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on time to treatment initiation (TTI) and treatment selection for patients newly diagnosed with metastatic solid cancer. METHODS: We used an electronic health record-derived longitudinal database curated via technology-enabled abstraction to identify 14 136 US patients newly diagnosed with de novo or recurrent metastatic solid cancer between January 1 and July 31 in 2019 or 2020. Patients received care at approximately 280 predominantly community-based oncology practices. Controlled interrupted time series analyses assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic period (April-July 2020) on TTI, defined as the number of days from metastatic diagnosis to receipt of first-line systemic therapy, and use of myelosuppressive therapy. RESULTS: The adjusted probability of treatment within 30 days of diagnosis was similar across periods (January-March 2019 = 41.7%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 32.2% to 51.1%; April-July 2019 = 42.6%, 95% CI = 32.4% to 52.7%; January-March 2020 = 44.5%, 95% CI = 30.4% to 58.6%; April-July 2020 = 46.8%, 95% CI= 34.6% to 59.0%; adjusted percentage-point difference-in-differences = 1.4%, 95% CI = -2.7% to 5.5%). Among 5962 patients who received first-line systemic therapy, there was no association between the pandemic period and use of myelosuppressive therapy (adjusted percentage-point difference-in-differences = 1.6%, 95% CI = -2.6% to 5.8%). There was no meaningful effect modification by cancer type, race, or age. CONCLUSIONS: Despite known pandemic-related delays in surveillance and diagnosis, the COVID-19 pandemic did not affect TTI or treatment selection for patients with metastatic solid cancers.

COVID-19 , Neoplasms, Second Primary , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/epidemiology , Neoplasms, Second Primary/epidemiology , Pandemics , Time-to-Treatment , United States/epidemiology
JCO Clin Cancer Inform ; 5: 1134-1140, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518337


PURPOSE: Patients with cancer are at greater risk of developing severe symptoms from COVID-19 than the general population. We developed and tested an automated text-based remote symptom-monitoring program to facilitate early detection of worsening symptoms and rapid assessment for patients with cancer and suspected or confirmed COVID-19. METHODS: We conducted a feasibility study of Cancer COVID Watch, an automated COVID-19 symptom-monitoring program with oncology nurse practitioner (NP)-led triage among patients with cancer between April 23 and June 30, 2020. Twenty-six patients with cancer and suspected or confirmed COVID-19 were enrolled. Enrolled patients received twice daily automated text messages over 14 days that asked "How are you feeling compared to 12 hours ago? Better, worse, or the same?" and, if worse, "Is it harder than usual for you to breathe?" Patients who responded worse and yes were contacted within 1 hour by an oncology NP. RESULTS: Mean age of patients was 62.5 years. Seventeen (65%) were female, 10 (38%) Black, and 15 (58%) White. Twenty-five (96%) patients responded to ≥ 1 symptom check-in, and overall response rate was 78%. Four (15%) patients were escalated to the triage line: one was advised to present to the emergency department (ED), and three were managed in the outpatient setting. Median time from escalation to triage call was 11.5 minutes. Four (15%) patients presented to the ED without first escalating their care via our program. Participant satisfaction was high (Net Promoter Score: 100, n = 4). CONCLUSION: Implementation of an intensive remote symptom monitoring and rapid NP triage program for outpatients with cancer and suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection is possible. Similar tools may facilitate more rapid triage for patients with cancer in future pandemics.

COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Text Messaging , Female , Humans , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Triage