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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
Cancer Med ; 10(24): 8854-8865, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1540061


BACKGROUND: Given the high risk of COVID-19 mortality, patients with cancer may be vulnerable to fear of COVID-19, adverse psychological outcomes, and health care delays. METHODS: This longitudinal study surveyed the pandemic's impact on patients with cancer (N= 1529) receiving Patient Advocate Foundation services during early and later pandemic. Generalized estimating equation with repeated measures was conducted to assess the effect of COVID-19 on psychological distress. Logistic regression with repeated measures was used to assess the effect of COVID-19 on any delays in accessing health care (e.g., specialty care doctors, laboratory, or diagnostic testing, etc.). RESULTS: Among 1199 respondents, 94% considered themselves high risk for COVID-19. Respondents with more fear of COVID-19 had a higher mean psychological distress score (10.21; 95% confidence intervals [CI] 9.38-11.03) compared to respondents with less fear (7.55; 95% CI 6.75-8.36). Additionally, 47% reported delaying care. Respondents with more fear of COVID-19 had higher percentages of delayed care than those with less (56; 95% CI 39%-72% vs. 44%; 95% CI 28%-61%). These relationships persisted throughout the pandemic. For respondents with a COVID-19 diagnosis in their household (n = 116), distress scores were similar despite higher delays in care (58% vs. 27%) than those without COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: Fear of COVID-19 is linked to psychological distress and delays in care among patients with cancer. Furthermore, those who are personally impacted see exacerbated cancer care delays. Timely psychosocial support and health care coordination are critical to meet increased care needs of patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19/psychology , Fear , Neoplasms/psychology , Psychological Distress , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Stress, Psychological/epidemiology , Young Adult
Cancer Med ; 10(10): 3288-3298, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1209703


BACKGROUND: Given excellent survival outcomes in breast cancer, there is interest in de-escalating the amount of chemotherapy delivered to patients. This approach may be of even greater importance in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: This concurrent mixed methods study included (1) interviews with patients and patient advocates and (2) a cross-sectional survey of women with breast cancer served by a charitable nonprofit organization. Questions evaluated interest in de-escalation trial participation, perceived barriers/facilitators to participation, and language describing de-escalation. RESULTS: Sixteen patient advocates and 24 patients were interviewed. Key barriers to de-escalation included fear of recurrence, worry about decision regret, lack of clinical trial interest, and dislike for focus on less treatment. Facilitators included trust in physician recommendation, toxicity avoidance, monitoring for progression, perception of good prognosis, and impact on daily life. Participants reported that the COVID-19 pandemic made them more likely to avoid chemotherapy if possible. Of 91 survey respondents, many (43%) patients would have been unwilling to participation in a de-escalation clinical trial. The most commonly reported barrier to participation was fear of recurrence (85%). Few patients (19%) considered clinical trials themselves as a barrier to de-escalation trial participation. The most popular terminology describing chemotherapy de-escalation was "lowest effective chemotherapy dose" (53%); no patients preferred the term "de-escalation." CONCLUSIONS: Fear of recurrence is a common concern among breast cancer survivors and patient advocates, contributing to resistance to de-escalation clinical trial participation. Additional research is needed to understand how to engage patients in de-escalation trials.

Breast Neoplasms/drug therapy , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Surveys and Questionnaires , Adult , Aged , Anxiety/psychology , Breast Neoplasms/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Fear/psychology , Female , Humans , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2/physiology