Apr 18, 2020

Covid-19 is shattering US cancer care

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

American oncologists are rushing to prioritise the patients at greatest risk, institute new protections, and learn from their collective experiences, Bryn Nelson reports.

A patient in Washington, newly diagnosed with breast cancer, fought to get her lumpectomy surgery rescheduled after it was cancelled indefinitely. 1 A stuffy nose required another patient in Massachusetts with a recurrent brain tumour to undergo multiple layers of screening before he could receive his immunotherapy infusion. 2 A patient with bladder cancer in North Carolina couldn’t get immunotherapy at all because of a lack of surgical masks and gloves. 3 Then he was denied a surgical alternative because he needed a covid-19 test first. Since he hadn’t been admitted to a hospital with serious covid-19 symptoms, he didn’t meet the testing criteria.

Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on cancer care throughout the US as medical centres scramble to cancel or rearrange surgeries or treatments, tackle a continuing shortage of tests and supplies, and devise new safety protocols to protect a highly susceptible patient group.

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