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1.
J Cancer Res Ther ; 18(1): 245-248, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1776462

ABSTRACT

Managing of radiotherapy department in many cancer centers in India has become very challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic. A radiotherapy center has to deal with multiple problems such as long treatment duration of each patient, high caseload on each radiotherapy machine, a limited number of qualified technical staff available, and equipment maintenance. For the department's smooth running, both the patient and healthcare worker must be safe from contacting COVID-19. A robust and planned strategy is required for prevention, screening, and awareness among all. To access our preparedness and evolve by gaining from other radiotherapy centers, a study was conducted using questionnaires and responses collected from different cancer centers in India.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Radiation Oncology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , India/epidemiology , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Pandemics/prevention & control , Surveys and Questionnaires
2.
Med Oncol ; 39(5): 79, 2022 Feb 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704103

ABSTRACT

This letter is some reflections on the articles by Lee et al. that have been published in MEDICAL ONCOLOGY. In this article, the experience of transferring, screening, and uninterrupted treatment of cancer patients in our radiotherapy center during Delta Variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus epidemic in Xi'an, China is presented in the form of a flowchart. By taking effective control measures, the radiotherapy center has not only effectively prevented the spread of the virus, but also ensured uninterrupted treatment for all patients. Therefore, we quickly share our center's experience so that more radiotherapy patients can benefit.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Neoplasms/radiotherapy , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/prevention & control , China/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Workflow
3.
J Cancer Res Ther ; 17(6): 1540-1546, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1597096

ABSTRACT

Purpose: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the entire health-care system and has led to a sense of fear and anxiety in the minds of patients. Patient's perceptions in this scenario of the pandemic are unknown. Providing continued care for cancer patients during the lockdown has been challenging. Measures are needed to improve patient safety and satisfaction during these challenging times and hence the importance of measuring the degree of satisfaction for the quality of care provided. The aim of the study was to evaluate the factors related to patients' satisfaction and also understand their apprehensions, fears, and anxieties they face as they receive radiotherapy treatment amid COVID-19 pandemic. The study's objective was to explore other aspects such as logistic issues, patient-staff communication, and also perceptions of the patients toward the outbreak. Materials and Methods: This study was conducted from April to September 2020. A questionnaire was created for which the patients were asked to provide answers. Parameters assessed included general information such as mode of transport used, frame of mind during treatment, awareness about pandemic, satisfaction toward care provided by health-care staff, and also documenting the suggestions to improve the quality of care. Results: During this period, we interviewed 108 patients: 56 males (51.9%) and 52 females (48.1%). 90.7% of the participants were satisfied with the condition and safety measures employed in waiting area and billing section. Majority (88.9%) were found to be aware about COVID-19. 74.1% of the participants were very satisfied with the services provided to them in the department of radiation oncology. Conclusion: The survey was useful in measuring the patient satisfaction, in understanding their fears and anxieties, and also in determining their awareness about the pandemic. The survey was also useful to get the patients' opinion and ideas for improvement in the health-care services.


Subject(s)
Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Patient Satisfaction/statistics & numerical data , Professional-Patient Relations , Tertiary Care Centers/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , Anxiety/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communication , Fear/psychology , Female , Humans , India/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Safety , Quality of Health Care , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
4.
Klin Onkol ; 34(6): 455-462, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575269

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The time factor plays a key role in radiotherapy. The radiotherapy overall treatment time is one of the most important predictive factors in the treatment effectiveness and is associated with better local control and impact on the overall survival. The length of the time from the dia-gnosis to radical radiotherapy or from surgery to adjuvant radiotherapy or the use of alternative fractionation schemes shortening the total treatment time also play an important role. The prevention of prolongation of the radiation series remains a fundamental and well feasible way of applying the time factor in radiotherapy. PURPOSE: Interruption of radiotherapy usually occurs for technical reasons, due to factors at the patients side or for personnel reasons of the department. Standard procedures for the compensation for treatment breaks are part of the treatment protocols at radiotherapy departments. Possible risks of the discontinuation of radiotherapy are considered on the basis of the type and extent of the disease, the treatment intent and the condition of the patient, and the need of compensation for a break in the treatment is set. Patients are classified into three categories according to the above mentioned parameters. Compensation for the pause in radiotherapy is performed by calculating the equivalent dose in 2 Gy per fraction (EQD2); the preferred method of compensation is the one which enables observation of the planned total time of radiotherapy without extension. The benefit of local tumor control and the risk of increased acute or especially late toxicity should always be considered. In the current epidemiological situation, radiotherapy is often discontinued for COVID-19, and due to longer breaks in the treatment, it is necessary to combine multiple compensation methods in one patient.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Dose Fractionation, Radiation , Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Humans , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome
5.
Radiother Oncol ; 166: 88-91, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537007

ABSTRACT

The immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in cancer patients receiving radiotherapy is unknown. This prospective cohort study demonstrates that anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike antibody and neutralization titers are reduced in a subset of thoracic radiotherapy patients, possibly due to immunosuppressive conditions. Antibody testing may be useful to identify candidates for additional vaccine doses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
6.
J Infect Dev Ctries ; 15(9): 1286-1292, 2021 09 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1478147

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The outbreak of COVID-19 has had an impact on global healthcare as well as on radiotherapy practice in many countries. This study aimed to identify clinical characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infected cancer inpatients, as well as what impact this infection had on radiation treatment of the patients. METHODOLOGY: In this retrospective study, we included cancer inpatients with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 infection during the radiotherapy or chemoradiation in April 2020 in National Cancer Research Center in Serbia. Data were obtained from the medical records between 1 April and 1 July 2020. RESULTS: A total of 49 COVID-19 infected cancer inpatients were included. The most frequently reported cancers were head and neck cancers, in twenty-three patients (46.8%). Lymphopenia was present in 77.5% of the patients. Red blood cells, haemoglobin and platelets were significantly lower during incubation or diagnosis of COVID-19. Twenty-seven (55.1%) patients did not finish radiotherapy. The age of patients who finished radiotherapy after COVID-19 infection was significantly lower compared to the patients who did not finish radiotherapy (60.5 ± 7.8 vs. 68.6 ± 11.2; p < 0.005). CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 infected cancer patients in radiotherapy practice show similar symptoms and demographic characteristics as the general population infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus. Patients with head and neck cancers may be susceptible to infection with COVID-19. Old age and male gender may be risk factors for discontinuation of radiotherapy in COVID-19 infected cancer patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Neoplasms/complications , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Female , Humans , Inpatients , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Retrospective Studies , Serbia
7.
Strahlenther Onkol ; 198(4): 354-360, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1453670

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: To evaluate the impact of testing asymptomatic cancer patients, we analyzed all tests for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) before and during radiotherapy at a tertiary cancer center throughout the second wave of the pandemic in Germany. METHODS: Results of all real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for SARS-CoV­2 performed at our radio-oncology department between 13 October 2020 and 11 March 2021 were included. Clinical data and anamnestic information at the time of testing were documented and examined for (i) the presence of COVID-19-related symptoms and (ii) virus-related anamnesis (high-risk [prior positive test or contact to a positive tested person within the last 14 days] or low-risk [inconspicuous anamnesis within the last 14 days]). RESULTS: A total of 1056 SARS-CoV­2 tests in 543 patients were analyzed. Of those, 1015 tests were performed in asymptomatic patients and 41 tests in patients with COVID-19-associated symptoms. Two of 940 (0.2%) tests in asymptomatic patients with low-risk anamnesis and three of 75 (4.0%) tests in asymptomatic patients with high-risk anamnesis showed a positive result. For symptomatic patients, SARS-CoV­2 was detected in three of 36 (8.3%) low-risk and three of five (60.0%) high-risk tests. CONCLUSION: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study evaluating the correlation between individual risk factors and positivity rates of SARS-CoV­2 tests in cancer patients. The data demonstrate that clinical and anamnestic assessment is a simple and effective measure to distinctly increase SARS-CoV­2 test efficiency. This might enable cancer centers to adjust test strategies in asymptomatic patients, especially when test resources are scarce.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19 , Neoplasms , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Pandemics , Risk Assessment/methods , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
8.
Radiol Med ; 126(12): 1619-1656, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1439752

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged healthcare systems worldwide over the last few months, and it continues to do so. Although some restrictions are being removed, it is not certain when the pandemic is going to be definitively over. Pandemics can be seen as a highly complex logistic scenario. From this perspective, some of the indications provided for palliative radiotherapy (PRT) during the COVID-19 pandemic could be maintained in the future in settings that limit the possibility of patients achieving symptom relief by radiotherapy. This paper has two aims: (1) to provide a summary of the indications for PRT during the COVID-19 pandemic; since some indications can differ slightly, and to avoid any possible contradictions, an expert panel composed of the Italian Association of Radiotherapy and Clinical Oncology (AIRO) and the Palliative Care and Supportive Therapies Working Group (AIRO-palliative) voted by consensus on the summary; (2) to introduce a clinical care model for PRT [endorsed by AIRO and by a spontaneous Italian collaborative network for PRT named "La Rete del Sollievo" ("The Net of Relief")]. The proposed model, denoted "No cOmpRoMise on quality of life by pALliative radiotherapy" (NORMALITY), is based on an AIRO-palliative consensus-based list of clinical indications for PRT and on practical suggestions regarding the management of patients potentially suitable for PRT but dealing with highly complex logistics scenarios (similar to the ongoing logistics limits due to COVID-19). MATERIAL AND METHODS: First, a summary of the available literature guidelines for PRT published during the COVID-19 pandemic was prepared. A systematic literature search based on the PRISMA approach was performed to retrieve the available literature reporting guideline indications fully or partially focused on PRT. Tables reporting each addressed clinical presentation and respective literature indications were prepared and distributed into two main groups: palliative emergencies and palliative non-emergencies. These summaries were voted in by consensus by selected members of the AIRO and AIRO-palliative panels. Second, based on the summary for palliative indications during the COVID-19 pandemic, a clinical care model to facilitate recruitment and delivery of PRT to patients in complex logistic scenarios was proposed. The summary tables were critically integrated and shuffled according to clinical presentations and then voted on in a second consensus round. Along with the adapted guideline indications, some methods of performing the first triage of patients and facilitating a teleconsultation preliminary to the first in-person visit were developed. RESULTS: After the revision of 161 documents, 13 papers were selected for analysis. From the papers, 19 clinical presentation items were collected; in total, 61 question items were extracted and voted on (i.e., for each presentation, more than one indication was provided from the literature). Two tables summarizing the PRT indications during the COVID-19 pandemic available from the literature (PRT COVID-19 summary tables) were developed: palliative emergencies and palliative non-emergencies. The consensus of the vote by the AIRO panel for the PRT COVID-19 summary was reached. The PRT COVID-19 summary tables for palliative emergencies and palliative non-emergencies were adapted for clinical presentations possibly associated with patients in complex clinical scenarios other than the COVID-19 pandemic. The two new indication tables (i.e., "Normality model of PRT indications") for both palliative emergencies and palliative non-emergencies were voted on in a second consensus round. The consensus rate was reached and strong. Written forms facilitating two levels of teleconsultation (triage and remote visits) were also developed, both in English and in Italian, to evaluate the patients for possible indications for PRT before scheduling clinical visits. CONCLUSION: We provide a comprehensive summary of the literature guideline indications for PRT during COVID-19 pandemic. We also propose a clinical care model including clinical indications and written forms facilitating two levels of teleconsultation (triage and remote visits) to evaluate the patients for indications of PRT before scheduling clinical visits. The normality model could facilitate the provision of PRT to patients in future complex logistic scenarios.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Palliative Care/methods , Radiation Oncology/methods , Consensus , Humans , Italy , Pandemics , Practice Guidelines as Topic , Societies, Medical
10.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 17381, 2021 08 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379332

ABSTRACT

Cancer patients are more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and generally have higher mortality rate. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG is an important consideration for the patients in this COVID-19 pandemic. Recent researches suggested the rapid decay of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the general population, but the decline rate of the antibodies in cancer patients was unknown. In this observational study, we reported the clinical features of the 53 cancer patients infected by SARS-CoV-2 from Wuhan, China and tracked the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the patients for more than 12 months. We found the duration (days) of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG in the patients was significant longer in chemotherapy (mean: 175; range: 75 to 315) and radiotherapy groups (mean: 168; range: 85 to 265) than in non-chemo- or radio-therapy group (mean: 58; range: 21 to 123) after their recovery from COVID-19. We also used single-cell RNA sequencing to track the immunologic changes in a representative patient recovered  from COVID-19 and found that CD8 + effective T cells, memory B cells and plasma cells were persistently activated in the patient undergoing chemotherapy. Together, our findings show that chemotherapy and radiotherapy might be beneficial to extend the duration of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/blood , Immunoglobulin G/analysis , Neoplasms/immunology , Neoplasms/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/analysis , B-Lymphocytes/metabolism , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , China , Drug Therapy , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/drug therapy , Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Plasma Cells/metabolism , Radiotherapy , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Single-Cell Analysis , Time Factors
13.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys ; 109(3): 756-763, 2021 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1318870

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Fewer attendances for radiation therapy results in increased efficiency and less foot traffic within a radiation therapy department. We investigated outcomes after single-fraction (SF) stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in patients with oligometastatic disease. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Between February 2010 and June 2019, patients who received SF SBRT to 1 to 5 sites of oligometastatic disease were included in this retrospective study. The primary objective was to describe patterns of first failure after SBRT. Secondary objectives included overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), high-grade treatment-related toxicity (Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events grade ≥3), and freedom from systemic therapy (FFST). RESULTS: In total, 371 patients with 494 extracranial oligometastases received SF SBRT ranging from 16 Gy to 28 Gy. The most common primary malignancies were prostate (n = 107), lung (n = 63), kidney (n = 52), gastrointestinal (n = 51), and breast cancers (n = 42). The median follow-up was 3.1 years. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year OS was 93%, 69%, and 55%, respectively; PFS was 48%, 19%, and 14%, respectively; and FFST was 70%, 43%, and 35%, respectively. Twelve patients (3%) developed grade 3 to 4 treatment-related toxicity, with no grade 5 toxicity. As the first site of failure, the cumulative incidence of local failure (irrespective of other failures) at 1, 3 and 5 years was 4%, 8%, and 8%, respectively; locoregional relapse at the primary was 10%, 18%, and 18%, respectively; and distant failure was 45%, 66%, and 70%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: SF SBRT is safe and effective, and a significant proportion of patients remain FFST for several years after therapy. This approach could be considered in resource-constrained or bundled-payment environments. Locoregional failure of the primary site is the second most common pattern of failure, suggesting a role for optimization of primary control during metastasis-directed therapy.


Subject(s)
Neoplasm Metastasis/radiotherapy , Radiosurgery/methods , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Neoplasms/surgery , Pandemics , Progression-Free Survival , Radiation Injuries/pathology , Radiosurgery/adverse effects , Radiotherapy Dosage , Retrospective Studies , Salvage Therapy , Treatment Failure , Young Adult
14.
Int J Radiat Biol ; 97(10): 1436-1440, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1313694

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: This study aimed to assess the risk of acute and late radiation-induced toxicity in patients with COVID-19. MATERIAL AND METHODS: All the patients irradiated in Institut Curie from March to July 2020 were included if the first symptoms related to COVID-19 occurred no more than two months before the start of radiation therapy (RT) or 15 days after the end of RT. RESULTS: Twenty-nine patients were included in this analysis. Twenty-five patients had no co-morbidities (86.2%), including morbid obesity. The diagnosis of COVID-19 infection was based on a positive SARS-CoV-2 RNA test for 18 patients (62.1%), a positive serology test for three patients (10.3%), and/or radiologic findings for 12 patients (41.4%). Three patients with symptoms highly suggestive of COVID-19 were included, although they had negative biologic tests and did not have a chest CT scan. Median time from the diagnosis of COVID-19 to the onset of RT was 5.5 days. Modification of RT course due to COVID-19 status was observed in 15 patients, including four for whom RT was definitively stopped. Six patients needed hospitalization for hypoxemic lung disease requiring intensive care. The majority of patients did not experience severe (> grade 2) acute toxicity. After a median follow-up of 6 months (IQR, 1-9 months), none of the patients had unusual clinical or radiological late toxicities. CONCLUSION: The observed acute and late toxicities were ultimately similar to those observed in a population not infected with COVID-19. These results do not prompt modification of standard RT protocols for irradiation of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , Neoplasms/complications , Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Pandemics , Radiation Injuries/etiology , Adult , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged
17.
Tumori ; 108(2): 177-181, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1197332

ABSTRACT

Lombardy has represented the Italian and European epicenter of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Although most clinical efforts within hospitals were diverted towards the care of virally infected patients, therapies for patients with cancer, including radiotherapy (RT), have continued. During both the first and second pandemic waves, several national and regional organizations provided Italian and Lombardian RT departments with detailed guidelines aimed at ensuring safe treatments during the pandemic. The spread of infection among patients and personnel was limited by adopting strict measures, including triage procedures, interpersonal distance, and adequate implementation of personal protective equipment (PPE). Screening procedures addressed to both the healthcare workforce and patients, such as periodic nasopharyngeal swabs, have allowed the early identification of asymptomatic or pauci-symptomatic COVID-19 cases, thus reducing the spread of the infection. Prevention of infection was deemed of paramount importance to protect both patients and personnel and to ensure the availability of a minimum number of staff members to maintain clinical activity. The choice of treating COVID-19-positive patients has represented a matter of debate, and the risk of oncologic progression has been weighted against the risk of infection of personnel and other patients. Such risk was minimized by creating dedicated paths, reserving time slots, applying intensified cleaning procedures, and supplying personnel and staff with appropriate PPE. Remote working of research staff, medical physicists, and, in some cases, radiation oncologists has prevented overcrowding of shared spaces, reducing infection spread.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Radiation Oncology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Pandemics/prevention & control , Personal Protective Equipment , SARS-CoV-2
18.
JMIR Mhealth Uhealth ; 9(1): e19727, 2021 01 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1177912

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: eHealth and mobile health (mHealth) are an evolving trend in the medical field. The acceptance of digital tools is high, and the need is growing. OBJECTIVE: Young adults (18-40 years) confronted with a cancer diagnosis present unique needs and require special care. They often have a strong affinity and are familiar with modern technology. On that account, we implemented a web-based symptom and quality of life (QoL) assessment to address patients' attitudes and willingness to use mHealth tools. The study also aims to evaluate sociodemographic parameters that could influence patients' opinions. METHODS: A total of 380 young patients aged 18-40 treated with radiotherapy between 2002 and 2017 were included in the trial. We assessed QoL via the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer-Core 30 (EORTC C30) questionnaire and added general questions about mHealth technology. The added questions inquired patients' opinions regarding general aspects, including technical advances in medicine, mobile and app assistance during cancer treatment, data transfer, and app-specific features. The survey was conducted for 12 months. Participation was voluntary and pseudonymized; prior written consent was obtained. RESULTS: We achieved a participation rate of 57.6% (219/380) and a completion rate of 50.2% (110/219). The median age was 33 years (range 18-40). Of all participants, 89.1% (98/110) considered new technologies in medicine as positive; 10.9% (12/110) answered with neutral. Nearly all patients (96.4%, 106/110) stated that they would send further data via a web-based platform. Of all, 96.4% (106/110) considered the provided pseudonymization of their data as safe. We further asked the patients if they would use a mobile app for symptom and QoL assessment similar to the present web-based system: 74.5% (82/110) answered with yes and 25.5% (28/110) said they would not use a mobile app in the future. We tested the willingness to use an app on several sociodemographic parameters, such as age, gender, education, health insurance status, and cancer-related parameters: tumor stage, time since radiation treatment, and treatment intention. None of these parameters correlated with app use in this group of young adults. Patients who were generally positive regarding using an app rated several possible functions of a future app. The 3 most requested features were appointment reminders (89.0%, 73/82), contact overview of all involved clinics and physicians (87%, 71/82), and making an appointment via app (78%, 64/82). CONCLUSIONS: eHealth and mHealth tools should be available as an integrated part of a comprehensive cancer care approach. It provides automated, thorough documentation of health parameters during therapy and follow-up for doctors, medical staff, and tumor patients to optimize treatment. With this study, we could show that young adults are the ideal patient population to use eHealth/mHealth tools. Such tools offer further digital support and improve the patients' need for constant QoL during cancer care.


Subject(s)
Internet , Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Patient Acceptance of Health Care , Quality of Life , Telemedicine , Adolescent , Female , Humans , Male , Patient Reported Outcome Measures , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
20.
Anticancer Res ; 41(4): 1971-1974, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1168333

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND/AIM: Oncological care has faced several challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, e.g. treatment delay and worsening symptoms. Patient-reported anxiety, depression and sleep quality might have changed due to these special circumstances. Therefore, we analyzed the symptom burden of patients treated with palliative radiotherapy at our center. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A retrospective study was performed of 50 consecutive patients and the results were compared to those obtained in a previous pre-COVID study. The Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale was employed to assess the preradiotherapy symptoms. RESULTS: The highest mean scores were reported for pain in activity (3.2) and dry mouth (3.1). Regarding anxiety, sadness/depression and sleep, the corresponding scores were 1.5, 1.2 and 2.7, respectively. Compared to the previous study, no significant increases were found. Most items had numerically lower mean values, e.g. anxiety (1.5 vs. 2.7). Both study populations had comparable median age (70.5 vs. 70 years), gender distribution and proportion of patients with bone metastases. However, there were two significant imbalances, namely a lower proportion of patients with prostate cancer (12 vs. 30%, p=0.02) and breast cancer (0 vs. 12%, p=0.02). CONCLUSION: In patients who showed up for radiation treatment planning, the suspected increase in anxiety, sadness/depression and sleep disturbance was not demonstrable. It is not known whether or not patients with substantial worries chose to decline referral to palliative radiotherapy. Therefore, comprehensive large-scale studies of patterns of care are needed to fully understand the impact of COVID-19-related measures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Cost of Illness , Neoplasms/radiotherapy , Palliative Care/methods , Pandemics , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety/etiology , Bone Neoplasms/epidemiology , Bone Neoplasms/secondary , Cancer Pain/diagnosis , Cancer Pain/epidemiology , Cancer Pain/etiology , Depression/epidemiology , Depression/etiology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/complications , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/pathology , Norway/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Survival Analysis , Symptom Assessment
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