Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Newly diagnosed cancer and the COVID-19 pandemic: tumour stage migration and higher early mortality

Abstract

Background We compared the new outpatient clinic referrals during the first 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic with the year before.

Methods We compared baseline characteristics of the 2208 new referrals in 2020 (n=922) and 2019 (n=1286) with Χ2 and Mann-Whitney U tests and calculated ORs with binary logistic regression. To evaluate the expected changes in the cancer survival secondary to stage migration, we used the 5-year survival data of Survival, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program 2010–2016.

Results The percentage of patients with inoperable or metastatic disease was significantly increased during the pandemic (49.8% vs 39%, OR: 1.553, 95% CI: 1.309 to 1.843, p<0.001). We observed a significant decrease in the percentage of patients diagnosed via the screening methods (18.8% vs 28.7%, OR: 1.698, 95% CI: 1.240 to 2.325, p=0.001). The 90-day mortality after the cancer diagnosis was significantly higher during the pandemic (10.5% vs 6.6%, OR: 1.661, 95% CI: 1.225 to 2.252, p=0.001). Due to the increased advanced-stage disease rate at first referral, significant decreases in 5-year survival rates were expected for breast cancer (−8.9%), colorectal cancer (−11.1%), cervix cancer (−10.3%) and melanoma (−7%).

Conclusion We think that collaborative efforts are paramount to prevent the pandemic of late cancer diagnoses and ensure patient safety during the pandemic.

  • cancer
  • COVID-19

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

https://bmj.com/coronavirus/usage

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.