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1.
JAMA Netw Open ; 5(4): e228855, 2022 Apr 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1801991

ABSTRACT

Importance: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted cancer systems worldwide. Quantifying the changes is critical to informing the delivery of care while the pandemic continues, as well as for system recovery and future pandemic planning. Objective: To quantify change in the delivery of cancer services across the continuum of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Design, Setting, and Participants: This population-based cohort study assessed cancer screening, imaging, diagnostic, treatment, and psychosocial oncological care services delivered in pediatric and adult populations in Ontario, Canada (population 14.7 million), from April 1, 2019, to March 1, 2021. Data were analyzed from May 1 to July 31, 2021. Exposures: COVID-19 pandemic. Main Outcomes and Measures: Cancer service volumes from the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, defined as April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, were compared with volumes during a prepandemic period of April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020. Results: During the first year of the pandemic, there were a total of 4 476 693 cancer care services, compared with 5 644 105 services in the year prior, a difference of 20.7% fewer services of cancer care, representing a potential backlog of 1 167 412 cancer services. While there were less pronounced changes in systemic treatments, emergency and urgent imaging examinations (eg, 1.9% more parenteral systemic treatments) and surgical procedures (eg, 65% more urgent surgical procedures), major reductions were observed for most services beginning in March 2020. Compared with the year prior, during the first pandemic year, cancer screenings were reduced by 42.4% (-1 016 181 screening tests), cancer treatment surgical procedures by 14.1% (-8020 procedures), and radiation treatment visits by 21.0% (-141 629 visits). Biopsies to confirm cancer decreased by up to 41.2% and surgical cancer resections by up to 27.8% during the first pandemic wave. New consultation volumes also decreased, such as for systemic treatment (-8.2%) and radiation treatment (-9.3%). The use of virtual cancer care increased for systemic treatment and radiation treatment and psychosocial oncological care visits, increasing from 0% to 20% of total new or follow-up visits prior to the pandemic up to 78% of total visits in the first pandemic year. Conclusions and Relevance: In this population-based cohort study in Ontario, Canada, large reductions in cancer service volumes were observed. While most services recovered to prepandemic levels at the end of the first pandemic year, a substantial care deficit likely accrued. The anticipated downstream morbidity and mortality associated with this deficit underscore the urgent need to address the backlog and recover cancer care and warrant further study.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza, Human , Neoplasms , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Cohort Studies , Humans , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/therapy , Ontario/epidemiology , Pandemics
2.
Curr Oncol ; 29(3): 1877-1889, 2022 03 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742359

ABSTRACT

Emergency department (ED) use is a concern for surgery patients, physicians and health administrators particularly during a pandemic. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of the pandemic on ED use following cancer-directed surgeries. This is a retrospective cohort study of patients undergoing cancer-directed surgeries comparing ED use from 7 January 2018 to 14 March 2020 (pre-pandemic) and 15 March 2020 to 27 June 2020 (pandemic) in Ontario, Canada. Logistic regression models were used to (1) determine the association between pandemic vs. pre-pandemic periods and the odds of an ED visit within 30 days after discharge from hospital for surgery and (2) to assess the odds of an ED visit being of high acuity (level 1 and 2 as per the Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale). Of our cohort of 499,008 cancer-directed surgeries, 468,879 occurred during the pre-pandemic period and 30,129 occurred during the pandemic period. Even though there was a substantial decrease in the general population ED rates, after covariate adjustment, there was no significant decrease in ED use among surgical patients (OR 1.002, 95% CI 0.957-1.048). However, the adjusted odds of an ED visit being of high acuity was 23% higher among surgeries occurring during the pandemic (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.14-1.33). Although ED visits in the general population decreased substantially during the pandemic, the rate of ED visits did not decrease among those receiving cancer-directed surgery. Moreover, those presenting in the ED post-operatively during the pandemic had significantly higher levels of acuity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms , COVID-19/epidemiology , Emergency Service, Hospital , Humans , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/surgery , Ontario/epidemiology , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies
3.
J Natl Compr Canc Netw ; : 1-9, 2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662814

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Resource restrictions were established in many jurisdictions to maintain health system capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Disrupted healthcare access likely impacted early cancer detection. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of the pandemic on weekly reported cancer incidence. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a population-based study involving individuals diagnosed with cancer from September 25, 2016, to September 26, 2020, in Ontario, Canada. Weekly cancer incidence counts were examined using segmented negative binomial regression models. The weekly estimated backlog during the pandemic was calculated by subtracting the observed volume from the projected/expected volume in that week. RESULTS: The cohort consisted of 358,487 adult patients with cancer. At the start of the pandemic, there was an immediate 34.3% decline in the estimated mean cancer incidence volume (relative rate, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.57-0.75), followed by a 1% increase in cancer incidence volume in each subsequent week (relative rate, 1.009; 95% CI, 1.001-1.017). Similar trends were found for both screening and nonscreening cancers. The largest immediate declines were seen for melanoma and cervical, endocrinologic, and prostate cancers. For hepatobiliary and lung cancers, there continued to be a weekly decline in incidence during the COVID-19 period. Between March 15 and September 26, 2020, 12,601 fewer individuals were diagnosed with cancer, with an estimated weekly backlog of 450. CONCLUSIONS: We estimate that there is a large volume of undetected cancer cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Incidence rates have not yet returned to prepandemic levels.

4.
Curr Oncol ; 28(6): 5332-5345, 2021 12 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572387

ABSTRACT

Virtual cancer care (i.e., teleoncology) was rapidly adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the needs of patients with cancer. However, there is a paucity of guidance for clinicians regarding virtual cancer care. We sought to develop consensus-based statements to guide the optimal provision of virtual care for clinicians caring for patients with cancer, using a modified Delphi consensus process with a 29-member panel consisting of an interprofessional group of clinicians caring for patients with cancer and patient representatives. The consensus process consisted of two rounds and one synchronous final consensus meeting. At the end of the modified Delphi process, 62 of 62 statements achieved consensus. Fifty-seven statements reached consensus in the first round of the process. Concerns regarding the ability to convey difficult news virtually and maintaining similar standards as in-person care without disproportionate strain on clinicians and patients were addressed in the consensus process. We achieved interprofessional consensus on virtual cancer care practices. Further research examining the impact of virtual cancer care on person-centred and clinical outcomes are needed to inform practices during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Consensus , Delphi Technique , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Curr Oncol ; 28(5): 3488-3506, 2021 09 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1417146

ABSTRACT

Virtual care in cancer care existed in a limited fashion globally before the COVID-19 pandemic, mostly driven by geographic constraints. The pandemic has required dramatic shifts in health care delivery, including cancer care. We conducted a systematic review of comparative studies evaluating virtual versus in-person care in patients with cancer. Embase, APA PsycInfo, Ovid MEDLINE, and the Cochrane Library were searched for literature from January 2015 to 6 August 2020. We adhered to PRISMA guidelines and used the modified GRADE approach to evaluate the data. We included 34 full-text publications of 10 randomized controlled trials, 13 non-randomized comparative studies, and 5 ongoing randomized controlled trials. Evidence was divided into studies that provide psychosocial or genetic counselling and those that provide or assess medical and supportive care. The limited data in this review support that in the general field of psychological counselling, virtual or remote counselling can be equivalent to in-person counselling. In the area of genetic counselling, telephone counselling was more convenient and noninferior to usual care for all outcomes (knowledge, decision conflict, cancer distress, perceived stress, genetic counseling satisfaction). There are few data for clinical outcomes and supportive care. Future research should assess the role of virtual care in these areas. Protocol registration: PROSPERO CRD42020202871.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Humans , Neoplasms/therapy , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
6.
JCO Oncol Pract ; 18(1): e60-e71, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1403282

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Provider well-being has become the fourth pillar of the quadruple aim for providing quality care. Exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic, provider well-being has become a critical issue for health care systems worldwide. We describe the prevalence and key system-level drivers of burnout in oncologists in Ontario, Canada. METHODS: This is a cross-sectional survey study conducted in November-December 2019 of practicing cancer care physicians (surgical, medical, radiation, gynecologic oncology, and hematology) in Ontario, Canada. Ontario is Canada's largest province (with a population of 14.5 million), and has a single-payer publicly funded cancer system. The primary outcome was burnout experience assessed through the Maslach Burnout Inventory. RESULTS: A total of 418 physicians completed the questionnaire (response rate was 44% among confirmed oncologists). Seventy-three percent (n = 264 of 362) of oncologists had symptoms of burnout (high emotional exhaustion and/or depersonalization scores). Significant drivers of burnout identified in multivariable regression modeling included working in a hectic or chaotic atmosphere (odds ratio [OR] = 15.5; 95% CI, 3.4 to 71.5; P < .001), feeling unappreciated on the job (OR = 7.9; 95% CI, 2.9 to 21.3; P < .001), reporting poor or marginal control over workload (OR = 7.9; 95% CI, 2.9 to 21.3; P < .001), and not being comfortable talking to peers about workplace stress (OR = 3.0; 95% CI, 1.1 to 7.9; P < .001). Older age (≥ 56 years) was associated with lower odds of burnout (OR = 0.16; 95% CI, 0.1 to 0.4; P < .001). CONCLUSION: Nearly three quarters of participants met predefined standardized criteria for burnout. This number is striking, given the known impact of burnout on provider mental health, patient safety, and quality of care, and suggests Oncologists in Ontario may be a vulnerable group that warrants attention. Health care changes being driven by the COVID-19 pandemic provide an opportunity to rebuild new systems that address drivers of burnout. Creating richer peer-to-peer and leadership engagement opportunities among early- to mid-career individuals may be a worthwhile organizational strategy.


Subject(s)
Burnout, Professional , COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Physicians , Aged , Burnout, Professional/epidemiology , Burnout, Psychological , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Job Satisfaction , Ontario/epidemiology , Pandemics , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , Workplace
7.
J Patient Exp ; 8: 23743735211039328, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1394400

ABSTRACT

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.

8.
Int J Qual Health Care ; 33(2)2021 Jun 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1249305

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The disruption of health services due to coronavirus disease (COVID) is expected to dramatically alter cancer care; however, the implications for care quality and outcomes remain poorly understood. OBJECTIVE: We undertook a scoping review to evaluate what is known in the literature about how cancer treatment has been modified as a result of the COVID pandemic in patients receiving treatment for solid tumours, and what domains of quality of care are most impacted. METHODS: Citations were retrieved from MEDLINE and EMBASE (from 1 January 2019 to 28 October 2020), utilizing search terms grouped by the key concept (oncology, treatment, treatment modifications and COVID). Articles were excluded if they dealt exclusively with management of COVID-positive patients, modifications to cancer screening, diagnosis or supportive care or were not in English. Articles reporting on guidelines, consensus statements, recommendations, literature reviews, simulations or predictive models, or opinions in the absence of accompanying information on experience with treatment modifications in practice were excluded. Treatment modifications derived from the literature were stratified by modality (surgery, systemic therapy (ST) and radiotherapy) and thematically grouped. To understand what areas of quality were most impacted, modifications were mapped against the Institute of Medicine's quality domains. Where reported, barriers and facilitators were abstracted and thematically grouped to understand drivers of treatment modifications. Findings were synthesized into a logic model to conceptualize the inter-relationships between different modifications, as well as their downstream impacts on outcomes. RESULTS: In the 87 retained articles, reductions in outpatients visits (26.4%) and delays/deferrals were commonly reported across all treatment modalities (surgery: 50%; ST: 55.8% and radiotherapy: 56.7%), as were reductions in surgical capacity (57.1%), alternate systemic regimens with longer treatment intervals or use of oral agents (19.2%) and the use of hypofractionated radiotherapy regimens (40.0%). Delivery of effective, timely and equitable care was the quality domains found to be the most impacted. The most commonly reported facilitator of maintaining cancer care delivery levels was the shift to virtual models of care (62.1%), while patient-initiated deferrals and cancellations (34.8%), often due to fear of contracting COVID (60.9%), was a commonly reported barrier. CONCLUSIONS: As it will take a considerable amount of time for the cancer system to resume capacity and adjust models of care in response to the pandemic, these treatment delays and modifications will likely be prolonged and will negatively impact the quality of care and patient outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Neoplasms/therapy , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
9.
Curr Oncol ; 28(1): 278-282, 2021 01 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1011431

ABSTRACT

Patients with cancer are more vulnerable to severe COVID-19. As a result, routine SARS-CoV-2 testing of asymptomatic patients with cancer is recommended prior to treatment. However, there is limited evidence of its clinical usefulness. The objective of this study is to evaluate the value of routine testing of asymptomatic patients with cancer. Asymptomatic patients with cancer attending Odette Cancer Centre (Toronto, ON, Canada) were tested for SARS-CoV-2 prior to and during treatment cycles. Results were compared to positivity rates of SARS-CoV-2 locally and provincially. All 890 asymptomatic patients tested negative. Positivity rates in the province were 1.5%, in hospital were 1.0%, and among OCC's symptomatic cancer patients were 0% over the study period. Given our findings and the low SARS-CoV-2 community positivity rates, we recommend a dynamic testing model of asymptomatic patients that triggers testing during increasing community positivity rates of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Neoplasms/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Cancer Care Facilities , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/drug therapy , Ontario
10.
Eur J Cancer ; 144: 200-214, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-987581

ABSTRACT

Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) are a heterogeneous family of uncommon tumours with challenging diagnosis, clinical management and unique needs that almost always requires a multidisciplinary approach. In the absence of guidance from the scientific literature, along with the rapidly changing data available on the effect of COVID-19, we report how 12 high-volume NEN centres of expertise in 10 countries at different stages of the evolving COVID-19 global pandemic along with members of international neuroendocrine cancer patient societies have suggested to preserve high standards of care for patients with NENs. We review the multidisciplinary management of neuroendocrine neoplasms during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we suggest potential strategies to reduce risk and aid multidisciplinary treatment decision-making. By sharing our joint experiences, we aim to generate recommendations for proceeding to other institutions facing the same challenges.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Carcinoid Tumor/therapy , Gastrointestinal Neoplasms/therapy , Medical Oncology/standards , Pancreatic Neoplasms/therapy , Thoracic Neoplasms/therapy , Carcinoid Tumor/diagnosis , Consensus , Gastrointestinal Neoplasms/diagnosis , Humans , Pancreatic Neoplasms/diagnosis , Thoracic Neoplasms/diagnosis
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