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Radical cancer treatment is safe during COVID-19: the real-world experience of a large London-based Comprehensive Cancer Centre during the first wave

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Beth Russell, Charlotte Moss, Maria Monroy-Iglesias, Graham Roberts, Harvey Dickinson, Kate Haire, Kathryn Innes, Bansi Mulji-Shah, Fiona Castell, Omar Al-Salihi, Mary Lei, Angela Francis, Bill Dann, Vikash Jogia, Hisham Hamid, Ben Challacombe, Ricard Simo, Stephanie Fraser, Charalampos Gousis, Elinor Sawyer & 8 more Eirini Tsotra, Jose Roca, Muhammad Khan, Debra Josephs, Deborah Enting, Mieke Van Hemelrijck, Victoria Harris, Saoirse Dolly

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish journal of cancer
DOIs
Accepted/In press29 Jun 2022
Published15 Jul 2022

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Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).

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Abstract

Background: During the COVID pandemic, there was a paucity of data to support clinical decision-making for anticancer treatments. We evaluated the safety of radical treatments which were delivered whilst mitigating the risks of concurrent COVID-19 infection. Methods: Using descriptive statistics, we report on the characteristics and short-term clinical outcomes of patients undergoing radical cancer treatment during the first COVID-19 wave compared to a similar pre-pandemic period. Results: Compared to 2019, the number of patients undergoing radical treatment in 2020 reduced by: 28% for surgery; 18% for SACT; and 10% for RT. Within SACT, 36% received combination therapy, 35% systemic chemotherapy, 23% targeted treatments, 5% immunotherapy and 2% biological therapy. A similar proportion of RT was delivered in 2019 and 2020 (53% vs. 52%). Oncological outcomes were also similar to pre-COVID-19. The COVID-19 infection rates were low: 12 patients were positive pre surgery (1%), 7 post surgery (<1%), 17 SACT patients (2%) and 3 RT patients (<1%). No COVID-19-related deaths were reported. Conclusions: Whilst there were fewer patients receiving radical anticancer treatments, those who did receive treatment were treated in a safe environment. Overall, cancer patients should have the confidence to attend hospitals and be reassured of the safety measures implemented.

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