The Paradoxical Effects of COVID-19 on Cancer Care: Current Context and Potential Lasting Impacts.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has fundamentally disrupted the practice of oncology, shifting care onto virtual platforms, rearranging the logistics and economics of running a successful clinical practice and research, and in some contexts, redefining what treatments patients with cancer should and can receive. Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, there has been considerable emphasis placed on the implications for patients with cancer in terms of their vulnerability to the virus and potential exposure in healthcare settings. But little emphasis has been placed on the significant, and potentially enduring, consequences of COVID-19 for how cancer care is delivered. In this article, we outline the importance of a focus on the effects of COVID-19 for oncology practice during and potentially after the pandemic, focusing on key shifts that are already evident, including: the pivot to online consultations, shifts in access to clinical trial and definitions of "essential care," the changing economics of practice, and the potential legacy effects of rapidly implemented changes in cancer care. COVID-19 is reshaping oncology practice, clinical trials, and delivery of cancer care broadly, and these changes might endure well beyond the short- to mid-term of the active pandemic. Therefore, shifts in practice brought about by the pandemic must be accompanied by improved training and awareness, enhanced infrastructure, and evidence-based support if they are to harness the positives and offset the potential negative consequences of the impacts of COVID-19 on cancer care.
Broom, A; Kenny, K; Page, A; Cort, N; Lipp, ES; Tan, AC; Ashley, DM; Walsh, KM; Khasraw, M
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